The moments in TV show Strife that actually happened in real life.

A compelling TV series will always take a thread of truth and weave it into an addictive piece of fiction, and the new series Strife does just that. 

Inspired by Mia Freedman’s memoir Work, Strife, Balance the series is set in the early days of publishing and digital media.

The comedic drama series – which is now streaming on Binge – tells the story of an imperfect woman and publisher named Evelyn Jones (played by Asher Keddie), and tracks her journey from lounge-room blogger to becoming a leading force in women's media.

Strife follows Evelyn as she and her small team build the women's website Eve, all while she navigates motherhood, the end of her marriage, public cancellation, and a series of events that can only take place behind the walls of a women's media office.

While Strife and the characters within it are very much works of fiction, many of the storylines that play out in the series are inspired by real-life events.

For example, a storyline where a female candidate in the running to be Australian Prime Minister visits the Eve office is inspired by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard's two visits to the Mamamia office (although in this case, the interviews did not end in her losing the election). 

Here are four stories from Strife that were inspired by real events. 

Strife scene where Evelyn meets Australia's first potential female PM


Yes, the tampon flusher at the original Mamamia office was unmasked as Mia Freedman.

The Strife scene where the office toilet is blocked and Evelyn Jones turns to her female staff (and Paul) and laments that she had no idea you couldn't just flush a tampon, really did take place in the original Mamamia office. During a time when many a plumber was called to the office due to the fact that Mia Freedman, by her own admission, was not aware of the plumbing catastrophe she was creating.


In 2023 she wrote, "The plumber was called to the Mamamia office yet again to unblock the toilet. This happens a lot – but we have 20 people and only one bathroom so, you know, it’s not entirely unexpected.

"Somehow, a conversation began in the editorial room about flushing tampons down the toilet and WHO IS DOING THAT?

"Wait, what? 'Why wouldn’t you flush your tampons down the toilet?' I asked, genuinely perplexed. And then they killed me. Seriously, I have managed to get to the age of 42 without knowing that you’re not meant to flush tampons down the toilet."

Thankfully, the following Strife scene that depicts Evelyn's bloody tampon being pulled out of her handbag live on TV for everyone to see did not happen to Mia Freedman (or, God willing, any other woman), that part is pure fiction. 

You can read the full story here: Today's knowledge gap is brought to you by: Mia Freedman and tampon-gate.

Mia Freedman on the set of Strife


The office dog in Strife is based on a real employee pet, but their actual in-office behaviour was so much worse.

In Strife there is an office dog named Boris who doesn't cause too much of a stir (apart from the moment where his existence is likened to that of a child and the classic fur baby verse human baby debate ensues amongst two Eve staff members) but his real-life origin story is a little more complicated.

Mamamia's former office in Surry Hills was a dog-friendly workspace, meaning it wasn't unusual to be working away at your desk and suddenly feel a little furry body brush past your legs as someone's pet casually made their way through the cluster of desks to the kitchen. 

While most of the Mamamia dogs were well-behaved, there has been one notable exception in the form of a dachshund named Maple. 

While Maple spent her early years in the Mamamia office as a beloved member of the team, even celebrating her first birthday in an office meeting room decked out in a pink tulle skirt while surrounded by dog-friendly cakes, her overall behaviour was less than desirable.


Maple is the inspiration behind Boris in TV show Strife

Maple enjoyed using the CEO's office as her own private bathroom, and would chase, bark at and attempt to bite anyone she deemed unworthy to be in the office. Which included, but was not limited to, all men (but especially those attempting to deliver packages).


Maple was eventually placed on an official Performance Improvement Plan due to her behaviour. From that day forward, she did not return to the office. 

You can read her owner's perspective here: "I showered my first child with too much love. Now I have to accept I've raised a monster."

Opal's uncomfortable viral interview is based on a real celebrity interaction.

In Strife, Eve writer Opal is excited to interview one of her favourite actresses and activists, with the highly anticipated interview even being streamed live on the website. Things quickly go off the rails, however, when Opal goes into the interview a little too familiar with her questions and immediately things between her and the talent become awkward and strained. Leading to their unfortunate interaction being widely shared online.

While things didn't play out like that exactly in real life, this storyline is loosely inspired by an interview Mamamia did with Amy Schumer in 2015 while she was in Australia promoting her movie Trainwreck.

The interviewer had meticulously prepped for the interview and as a fan of Amy Schumer's work, she wanted to do something fun and interesting during their talk and so she made a series of flashcards emblazoned with Australian icons and invited Amy to play a word association game.

It didn't go well and Amy Schumer wasn't really keen on the whole idea, which led her to stop responding to the questions mid-interview. 


The Photoshop storyline from Strife did really happen, just not at Mamamia.

There is an episode in Strife where Eve publishes a series of unretouched images from a magazine shoot, and the woman in the images publicly calls the website out for sharing the pictures against her will.

This storyline is actually inspired by a very infamous exchange that took place between actress and showrunner Lena Dunham and women's website Jezebel in 2014.

Lena Dunham was featured on the cover of Vogue‘s February issue and Jezebel offered $10,000 to anyone who could send them the un-retouched versions of the photos, which were taken by Annie Leibowitz. 

Jezebel wrote at the time that, “[Dunham’s] body is real. She is real. And as lovely as the Vogue pictures are, they’re probably not terribly real.” 

Just a few hours after this article went live, Jezebel obtained the unaltered photos of Lena and published them on their site.

Later, in an interview for Grantland, Lena Dunham commented on Jezebel publishing her photos, writing: “They made such a monumental error in their approach to feminism… It felt gross.”

She later told Slate France that this was not the story she wanted to come from her Vogue cover, saying: “I never felt bullied into anything; I felt really happy because they dressed me and styled me in a way that really reflects who I am… I haven’t been keeping track of all the reactions, but I know some people have been very angry about the cover and that confuses me a little. I don’t understand why, Photoshop or no, having a woman who is different than the typical Vogue cover girl, could be a bad thing.”


Scenes from Eve Life

Want more behind-the-scenes Strife content? Check out these stories:

Feature Image: Supplied.

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