The Surprising Real-Life Inspiration Behind Living Single’s Maxine Shaw


Online interviewer Quencie Thomas spoke to Erika Alexander about her “Living Single” character Maxine Shaw during an interview about the two most well-known roles from her career. At one point in their discussion, Thomas asked Alexander for some background on the development of Maxine.

First, Alexander credited series creator Yvette Lee Bowser with the initial idea for the character. Then, she went on to explain how members of her family — specifically her sister and dad — inspired Maxine’s personality. “If anybody thinks that Max was crazy, they gotta get a load of my sister Caroline, who’s a social worker in Philadelphia, who I pulled from a lot. And also my father was a huge, huge — just a real funny guy,” Alexander said. “I’m actually like the most boring person in my family.”

While Maxine may be considerably different than Alexander in her day-to-day life, she continues to look back fondly on the character she and Bowser created. “I think the role that I played that had the most meaning might be Maxine Shaw,” Alexander told The Root. She also mentioned hearing from the likes of Stacy Abrams and Bill de Blasio that her work inspired their careers.

Abrams, de Blasio, and anyone else who enjoyed watching Maxine on “Living Single,” then, has Alexander’s family to thank for inspiring her with their eccentricity.



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