Alex is a former drug smuggler for an unspecified international drug cartel. Years prior to the beginning of the series, she took a sexual interest in Piper after meeting her in a bar, and gradually integrated her 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, but cleaned up in prison. She states during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that being in prison is her "rock bottom" experience. Vause's mother had worked four jobs, and her father was a washed-up rock star. Alex tracked down her father and, facing bitter disappointment, struck up a friendship with his drug dealer who subsequently became her industry contact in a drug cartel. Alex is not particularly broken up about being in prison, since she at least managed to free herself of drug addiction. She admits to Piper and Nicky that she isn't sure what she'll do with her life when she gets out, as her only life skill is "moving massive amounts of heroin". 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. Alex is good at reading people and is perceptive, quite often surmising Piper's true feelings and intentions. In Season 2, she double crosses Piper and gives incriminating evidence at the trial of her former boss (after advising Piper to lie), earning herself an early release. When Piper calls her on the phone, she reveals that that her boss had walked free, and she is now in fear of her life. To Piper's dismay, when Alex visits, she reveals that she is planning to skip town and go into hiding. Wanting to get her old girlfriend back in prison with her, Piper secretly has Polly Harper inform Alex's probation officer of her plan to skip town, thereby violating her probation.
Alex Vause is snarky 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. Alex is good at reading people and is perceptive, quite often surmising Piper's true feelings and intentions. Vause often passes her ill judgements onto Piper, and Piper takes responsibility even though the situation is clearly Alex's fault. Alex relies on Piper just as much as Piper relies on her, but she uses her rockabilly demeanor to hide it all, when she is simply as fragile as the next inmate.
Alex Vause is a tall, athletically built woman. She wears her hair down and dyed black, usually wearing dark eyeliner and her eye brows plucked within an inch of their lives. She wears glasses with thick black frames. She has a penchant for dark lipstick when seen in flash backs. She is a fan of tattoos and displays quite a few proudly.
Vause's first encounter with her ex-girlfriend in prison was not a great one. Piper went off on her about being the cause of her arrest, but Alex told her that she had not named her as a suspect. Piper did not believe her, and refused to speak to Vause.
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.
During a Valentine's Day get-together, Alex and Piper danced together in a non-sexual way. The anti-lesbian who was having problems with Piper ran to Sam Healy, who believed that Vause and Chapman had had lesbian sex, and threw Piper into solitary. Upon release, Piper came to Alex and proceeded to have sex in the chapel. They continued their love affair until Larry revealed that she had named Piper as a suspect.
During one of Chapman's episodes, Alex concluded that she did not want Piper to come running back to her for anything. She confided a lot in Nicky Nichols, who was good friends with Vause. Since they are both lesbians, they have no trouble showing fun affection towards each other. When it's Christmas time, Nichols proceeds to finger Vause as a present.
Alex Vause did not have a lot of appearances in the second season. She named the prime drug lord, but the court failed to have him arrested. She was released, although she became scared of what would happen to her living on her own with no security or protection. She often sent letters to Chapman, most likely telling her how sorry she was for insisting she lied. In the season finale, Vause was being arrested again for violating her probation.
- "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
- "Come be my little spoon."
- — Alex Vause
- "Rule number one, don't ever fall in love with a straight girl."
- — Alex Vause
- "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 coming 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 (to "Pennsatucky")