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About Your Director

Nerves of steel, unearthly physical resistance, superhuman professionalism and a cache' of patience that would bring sweat to even Job's brow: No, these are not the prerequisites needed to scale Mount Everest, nor is this a checklist of Superman's virtues.  Yet these are the superhuman characteristics of a kind of superwoman, Von Gretchen Shepard-McAlpin, former Miss Black America, international model, pageant director and coach.  While she may not be able to leap a building in a single bound, she is no newcomer to competition, and is a crucial force in today's exciting world of pageantry.
Von Gretchen McAlpin,
Executive Director
and Coach
Miss Black America  &
Mrs. California America,         1st Runner-Up

Growing up to become famous is a common fantasy among little girls.  Actually having that fantasy come true is exceptional.​   After graduatin from Howard University, Von Gretchen captured the crown of 'Miss Black America'.  Upon signing with the Nina Blanchard Modeling Agency in Los Angeles and the Eileen Ford Modeling Agency in New York City, she became an overnight  runway and print success.


Later, world-renown designer Hubert de Givenchy discovered Von Gretchen in the garden restaurant of the Plaza Athene` in Paris, France.  The rest is history.

Von Gretchen graced the pages of numerous fashion magazines, including Vogue, Bazaar, Glamour, Ebony and Essence; she stormed the runways of world famous designers in New York, Paris, Milan, Rome and Japan including Givenchy, Ungaro, Chanel, YSL, Christian Dior, Valentino, Fendi, Halston, Bob Mackie, Bill Blass, Fernando Sanchez and Calvin Klein to name a few.

With 1 national title, 2 state titles, and a print and runway career spanning over 25 years, Von Gretchen was a natural choice as a Miss USA®  director, and was recruited by the Miss Universe Organization in 1991.  As executive director of the Miss and Miss Los Angeles Teen USA®  Pageant, she was awarded the California 'USA  Director's Award for Excellence' as producer the year after her very first titlist, Shannon Marketic, went on to win Miss USA® 1992.

After consistently producing titlists, finalists, and semi-finalists for the Miss USA® System, she now resides in Los Angeles, and is the new director for the Miss City of Los Angeles Pageants and the Miss Ocean Drive Pageants.


Von Gretchen continues to motivate, nurture and coach a new generation of young women like herself, so they may discover and embrace their own unique journey in life. If you learn anything from Von Gretchen, it is that the UNBELIVEABLE is ACHIEVABLE!

Apply Now to Take Your Place in USA History !

I want to inspire people .  I want someone to look at me and what I have accomplished and say "Because of you, I did not give up!


"Isn't it time you trusted someone who has been there,

and knows the secrets of winning?  






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