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Alex's character is based on Nora (in reality named Catherine Cleary Wolters) in the memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.
Alex Vause is snarky, manipulative and street smart. While she does associate with other inmates, she also keeps to herself emotionally, although she isn't afraid to fight back if provoked. Alex is often seen with a book in hand as she loves reading books. Alex is good at reading people and is perceptive. Both Alex and Piper betray each other for personal gain, despite their feelings for each other. Alex relies on Piper just as much as Piper relies on her, but she uses her hard demeanor to hide it all, only showing weakness on rare occasion to close friends such as Nicky. Alex has good survival skills, is very smart and calm and usually has good sense of humor when facing problems.
Alex Vause is a tall (5'10"), athletically built woman. She wears her hair down and dyed black, usually wearing dark eyeliner and her eyebrows plucked. She wears glasses with thick black frames (described as secretary glasses by Piper). She has a penchant for dark lipstick when seen in flashbacks. She is a fan of tattoos and displays quite a few proudly. She has a salt shaker tattoo in the back of her left shoulder, big red rose tattoos on her right shoulder, a tattoo on her right wrist, small tattoos on her left arm, a large tattoo on her right thigh and a small shooting star tattoo on the right-side of her waistline.
For a list of episodes featuring Alex's flashbacks, see here.
Before Litchfield Edit
Alex is the daughter of Diane Vause and Lee Burley. Vause was raised by her mother solely, as her father, a "rockstar", wasn't aware of her existence. Alex's mother worked four jobs to support them; nevertheless, they still struggled financially and Alex suffered bullying from her peers due to this. Her mother tried to console her, pointing out that her father was famous and she could use this knowledge to remain strong in the face of torment.
When she was older, Alex tracked down her father and, facing bitter disappointment at finding him an underwhelming, drug-taking washed up old star whose life still revolved around his former glory, struck up a friendship with his drug dealer Fahri. He subsequently became her industry contact in a drug cartel led by kingpin Kubra Balik. Alex then worked as a smuggler and dealer for many years.
She later took a sexual interest in Piper Chapman after meeting her in a bar. Alex was living with her girlfriend Sylvia at the time, but Alex eventually broke up the relationship and began dating Piper. Alex gradually integrated Piper into the drug trade while they traveled the world living in luxury. Vause once convinced Piper to smuggle cash through customs at an airport in Europe, the crime for which Piper is doing time. Vause specifically named Piper during her testimony, which is what led to Piper's later arrest. After Piper broke up with her, Vause began using heroin (though she later cleaned up in prison, frequenting AA there). She appears to have moments of depression, telling Nicky that she can no longer "get past the swirling darkness in her brain long enough to land on anything" and mentioning to Piper that upon entering prison, she was on anti-depressants, which she now trades for black eyeliner.
Vause's mother died from an aneurysm during Vause and Chapman's relationship; Alex finds this out just as Piper is preparing to leave her. Alex presumes that the break-up will be on hold whilst she deals with her death and attends the funeral, but Piper abandons her, refusing to stay around for support even though she is the only real friend that Alex has. Alex cites this as the reason she later named Piper, as that was the last time they had seen each other and Alex still felt betrayed.
Vause's first encounter with her ex-girlfriend in prison was not positive. Piper refused to acknowledge her due to her assumption that Alex named her and was therefore the cause of her arrest, but Alex insisted that she had not named her as a suspect.
After Chapman had gotten on bad terms with Red and was refused meals, Alex took it upon herself to give her a piece of bread. Although Piper threw her offering away, it showed the level of feelings Vause still had for her ex-lover. She was then punished by Red herself for giving Piper food by enduring the same tampon-sandwich that Piper did. She was starved and finally had to give Red a foot massage for 45 minutes, after which she got her meal.
After Larry Bloom lied to Piper on the advice of his father, telling Piper that Alex did not name her as an accomplice, Alex and Piper reconciled. [...]
During Taystee's goodbye party, Alex and Piper danced together provocatively. Pennsatucky, the homophobic religious fanatic who hated both Piper and Alex, reported them to Sam Healy, also fabricating a lie that the pair had had sex in the showers that morning. As a result, he had Piper thrown into the SHU. She was released by Joe Caputo when it became clear that the punishment was unjustified. Upon release, Piper found Alex in her dorm and pulled her into the chapel where they then proceeded to have sex. They continued their love affair until Larry revealed that she had named Piper as a suspect. [...]
During the last episode of the season, Piper admitted to Alex that she chose Larry over her, which resulted in Alex shutting her out completely, and telling Piper that Piper doesn't get to run to her anymore. Larry unexpectedly visited Alex and hoped to confront her about Piper. Alex revealed to Larry that it was Piper that initated their fling, saying "She came to me". Larry ended the engagement to Piper and she comes running to Alex for comfort but is rebuffed as promised. Before the Christmas pageant, Alex and Nicky Nichols, whom Alex had gotten for Secret Santa were sexually intimate in her bunk; this was the only time they have been seen to interact sexually, although their behaviour is occasionally flirty towards one another.
Alex Vause does not have many appearances in the second season. In their trial, despite saying she wouldn't and urging Piper to do the same, she named the prime drug lord, Kubra Balik, but the court failed to have him arrested due to misplaced evidence. She got released due to a plea deal, while Piper has to return to Litchfield. Alex became scared of what would happen to her due to the fact that she is now living on her own with no security or protection and her murderous ex-boss who is seeking revenge. She often sends letters to Piper, telling her how sorry she was, but Chapman, still angry, either throws them away or disregards them. [...] In the season finale, Vause was arrested again thanks to Piper convicing Polly to inform Alex's probation officer of her plans to skip town, which violates her probation, and further complicated by Alex having had a gun when the probation officer arrives at her apartment.
Alex arrives back at Litchfield embarrassed and questions Piper on why she is back. She begins to become very paranoid and exhibits signs of mental distress. Piper later admits that Alex is back because of her actions, and the two have "hate-sex". This continues until "Empathy Is a Boner Killer", when Alex forgives Piper during drama class when new correction's officer Berdie Rogers has them act out a scene between a manager and an unhappy customer who purchased bruised fruit. However, they find that their sexual magnetism has dwindled now that the drama has disappeared.
As a new inmate called Lolly Whitehill starts obsessively observing Alex, she becomes very paranoid, thinking she was sent by Kubra to kill her. [...] She finally confronts Lolly, only to discover that Lolly is exhibiting signs of extreme paranoia and pychosis herself, thinking that the NSA is plotting against her.
Later on in Season 3, Piper grows increasingly unconcerned and bored by Alex's paranoia that Kubra is plotting against her and will, at some point, get someone inside the prison to attack her. Alex and Piper eventually have a falling out, during which Piper cheats with Stella Carlin, a new inmate at Litchfield. They break up and their relationship remains broken, but in a scene with Yoga Jones she says, "it's never really over", whilst talking about lowkey Piper.
In the season finale, her fate is unknown after Aydin appears in Litchfield's greenhouse as a Correctional Officer, and corners her.
- Piper Chapman (girlfriend: former ex-girlfriend prior to Season 3; short relationship in Season 1; relationship prior to Season 1)
- Nicky Nichols (one-night stand)
- Sylvia (ex-girlfriend)
- Lolly Whitehill
- Kubra Balik (former boss)
- Aydin (hitman sent by Kubra)
- Stella Carlin (as a rival for Piper's affections)
Memorable Quotes Edit
- "I don't even know anymore. I used to. I had grand plans. Now I can't even get past the swirling darkness in my brain long enough to land on anything."
- — Alex Vause to Nicky Nichols (in "Imaginary Enemies")
- "Show me what you got, girl."
- — Alex Vause to Piper Chapman(in Season One deleted scene)
- "Rule number one, don't ever fall in love with a straight girl."
- — Alex Vause (in "Tall Men with Feelings")
- "Or I will fuck you, literally. I will sneak into your bunk in the middle of the night and I'll lick your pussy. I will do it so good and so soft and you're going to be on the edge of cumming before you wake up. And I will stop. And you'll be half asleep, and you'll beg for it. [chuckles] You'll beg for it. And maybe I'll be nice, and maybe I won't. But if I am nice, the things you feel, it will ruin you forever."
- — Alex Vause threathening to rape "Pennsatucky"
"It's a non-birthday Gift."
--Alex Vause to Piper Chapman
- "I'm pretty much the master of handling things completely wrong."
- — Alex Vause to Piper Chapman (in "We Have Manners. We're Polite.")
- "Fuck Piper, she can't dance anyway!"
- — Alex Vause to Fahri about Piper Chapman (in "Fear, and Other Smells")
- — Alex Vause, stumbling over the word "Amazing" (in "Fear, and Other Smells")