Only one of Litchfield's inmates have really been able to show Orange Is The New Black viewers what life could be like after release from prison, and apparently for her, it involves a lot of soliciting. Aleida has been trying to find ways of making money that'll help her reunite with her kids and get them out of foster care, and her method of choice turns out to be selling supposedly healthy supplemental milkshakes. So is Nutri Herbal a real company? Spoilers ahead for Orange Is The New Black Season 6.
It actually is not a real company, but pretty much everyone who's come into contact with big chain stores or any kind of infomercial in the past decade or so is familiar with the gist of the pyramid scheme. I'm sure they're not all scammy, but the whole liquid diet thing that Aleida begins to peddle doesn't exactly have rock solid science behind it, and there's plenty of skepticism surrounding that particular industry.
Aleida doesn't make the sketchiness any better, either. She claims to have lost dozens of pounds on the shakes when she solicits people, even though that's definitely not the case, and she makes up pleasant side effects and hidden benefits on the fly to convince people to buy. She herself was kind of sweet talked into the business by another saleswoman, though, so it's just an endless cycle.
It's hard to initially judge Aleida, though, for moving forward as such a morally grey salesperson. When viewers first see her in Season 6, she's being turned away from applying for a job at a grocery store because of her record. It's not easy to get a job when you have to check off the box that asks if you've ever been convicted of a crime before. There are certainly worse things she could be doing with her life than stretching the truth to sell some supplements, and her intentions are good. She needs a bigger income in order to get her three children out of the questionable foster home they've been subjected to while she's been in prison, and Nutri Herbal promises that she can make big bucks fast.
Of course — more spoilers coming — the innocent-enough business decision soon devolves into Aleida smuggling drugs into Litchfield using Nutri Herbal as a cover. Her blissfully unaware correctional officer boyfriend agrees to take some into work to drum up potential business, and Aleida starts to hide drugs in the bottom of each container, to eventually make their way to Daya. Even when she's found out, her boyfriend continues to help, just for a little while, so she can start getting more cash rolling in.
It's made clear from Aleida's story that getting back on your feet after a prison release is no easy feat, especially when you're desperate to get your kids out of the system and back into your own home. She talks a bit to one of the other students in her parenting class about how she needs a three bedroom apartment for the court to even consider giving her custody, and in New York City, that can seem practically impossible.
So while it's definitely a bad idea in reality, that easy drug money has to be tempting, particularly when she knows that her kids aren't in the best environment. But viewers can still hope that eventually, Aleida lays down the drug smuggling for good, and stops participating in activities that could get her sent straight back to Litchfield so soon after her release. Even if it just means selling nutritional supplements the good and honest way.