Alex Cohen initially thought she wanted to be an actress, so she studied theater at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She went on to study theater at Brown University, but became way more interested in Eastern Religions – which is what she earned her B.A. in with honors in 1993.
She then spent many years armed with extensive knowledge of 13th century Zen Buddhism but no clue as to what to do with her life. She tended bar, worked odd temp jobs and designed parade floats for a while before deciding to teach English in Japan. While there, she frequently gallivanted throughout Asia and Europe. Being so far away from news back home, she realized she was a news junkie and so she went to UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism where she received her Masters of Journalism.
Alex went on to work in radio as a producer and reporter at National Public Radio and at NPR member stations KQED and KPCC. In recent years most of her work has been as a host of such programs as American Public Media's “Weekend America,” NPR's “Day to Day” and she is currently the host of KPCC’s “All Things Considered.” She also contributes regularly as a reporter to “Marketplace” and NPR programs.
Alex found roller derby while doing a story on it in Austin, Texas and she quickly fell in love. In Los Angeles, she joined the L.A. Derby Dolls as Axles of Evil in 2003. She skated competitively for five years with both the Dolls and with the TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls' Holy Rollers in Austin (where she is known as Smother Theresa). She continues to train rollergirls and teaches non-competitive derby classes called Derby Por Vida.
Axles was hired to train actresses including Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig and Eve how to rollerskate for the film "Whip It!" She also provided skate choreography for the film, served as a derby consultant and makes a cameo appearance as herself.