Faces of Cebu Life!

FACES OF CEBU: Victoria Leslie Ingram, 27, Miss Universe PH Mandaue

Miss Universe Philippines 2024

Victoria Leslie Ingram, 27, representing Mandaue City in the Miss Universe Philippines 2024. | Photo by JCD Photography

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The last note of the song echoed through the venue, and the roar of the crowd filled the air. Victoria Leslie Ingram, the next contender, stood still despite her knees weakening with anxiety. Her palms were damp with nervous sweat, and her heart pounded erratically.

She watched as the spotlight danced across the stage, knowing that at any moment, it could be her turn to step into the blinding dome and face the challenge awaiting her.

With eyes closed and hands tightly gripping the microphone, Leslie took a deep breath.


Miss Mandaue 2023 is Victoria Leslie Ingram

“This is it, Lord. This is it,” she murmured.

With one final breath, Leslie stepped onto the stage. In that moment, her presence commanded the space, as if she were a pop star staking her claim on the world.

Why wouldn’t she? She was born a pop star. A phenomenal one. A force to be reckoned with. She is Victoria Leslie Ingram.

A singer. A medical nurse. A beauty queen.

“If ever I were to become the next Miss Universe Philippines, who knows, I’d be blessed to achieve that. I would be able to share a positive message, not only through my words but also through my singing and the songs I could write in the future,” Ingram said.


Victoria Leslie, or Vicky as she prefers to be called, is a rare combination of talent, compassion, beauty, and intellect personified.

She is not solely blessed with performing prowess; she also possesses a heart dedicated to serving her community as a medical nurse and a beauty that effortlessly captures the attention of everyone in the room.

From being a singer, to a nurse, now she is representing Mandaue City on the national stage of Miss Universe Philippines which is set to take the spotlight on May 22, 2024.

But behind the seemingly perfect picture of a woman who has it all, lies a story of grit and pain. Like everybody else, Vicky has experienced loss.

At the early age of three, she felt lost when her mother succumbed to breast cancer. From that moment onward, she found comfort in the care of her foster parents—her mother’s sister—who embraced her as their own.

Her mom’s dream

The loss of her mother continues to cast a shadow over her life, yet it also fuels her determination to fulfill her potential.

She strives to embody the image her mother always envisioned for her as a child—a vision that includes becoming a pop star and beauty queen.

“My aunt said that my mother always sang a song, and pretended to cheer for me like I was a candidate for Miss Universe. It’s her dream. And yes, that’s one of the things I was clinging on to,” she said.

However, before stepping into the pageant world, the 27-year-old half-Filipina, half-Black American devoted herself to building her name in the entertainment industry of Cebu through her singing career.

A singer

Remarkably, her journey began at the age of four when she started participating in singing competitions, ranging from local events to national stages.

Her usual song renditions often featured Original Pilipino Music (OPM) by artists like Jaya, with one of her signature pieces being “Wala Na Bang Pag-big.”

In 2021, she seized the opportunity to showcase her talent on a larger platform by participating in “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” an amateur singing competition featured as a segment of the popular noontime show “It’s Showtime.”

Alongside making a name for herself in the entertainment industry, Vicky pursued a degree in Nursing at the Cebu Technological University, graduating in 2018 and successfully passing the board exams.

A medical nurse

She began her professional career as a medical nurse under the Department of Health Central Visayas Center of Health Development.

In this role, she provided vital technical assistance to local government units (LGUs) and played a key part in implementing universal healthcare in Mandaue City.

Balancing her singing career with her responsibilities as a nurse, Vicky’s undeniable potential caught the attention of many.

Binibining Cebu 2020, top 12 finalist

In 2020, she received an invitation to participate in Binibining Cebu.

Without hesitation, Vicky embraced the opportunity, guided by her belief in seizing every chance that came her way. She landed among the top 12 finalists.

“It was really a matter of mind setting and putting things in perspective. I was resistant to the change of things especially from transitioning from singing to pageantry, but I really the more I resisted, the more it would be difficult for me to adapt and it would mean missing out on so many good opportunities. That became my mindset,” she said.

According to Vicky, her experience as both a performer and a medical nurse proved invaluable.

“My work as a nurse and performer has been advantaged, especially since I am always exposed to the pressure in the workplace, and as the performer, the pressure allowed me to become more emotionally and mentally mature in approaching pressure and challenges when I engage in stage,” she said.

Before joining Binibining Cebu, Vicky had already dipped her toes into the world of pageantry by participating in school pageant events.

This early exposure to the stage proved beneficial when she ventured into her first national pageant, Miss Teen Philippines, where she clinched a runner-up position.

Miss Mandaue 2023, first local crown

Despite the initial setback, Vicky’s determination remained steady. After a hiatus of four years, she returned to the pageant scene, this time competing in Miss Mandaue.

It was here that she achieved her first taste of victory, winning the title and earning her inaugural local crown.

“As much as how beautiful it is to deal with success with grace, it’s always important to deal with defeats with grace. That’s what I always learned to do. Always be humble. I brought humility throughout that’s why even if I don’t win, it doesn’t hurt that much because I don’t set high expectations in every pageant I become a part of,” Vicky said.

After her win in Miss Mandaue, Vicky decided to take a break. She spent months in Ireland, where she reconnected with her family. However, upon returning to the Philippines, she initially contemplated resuming her work as a community nurse.

Yet, fate had other plans in store for her. Despite her intentions, Vicky felt a calling to participate in Miss Universe Philippines 2024.

“I went a break to visit my family in Ireland and when I flew back I received a call asking me if I would join the Miss Universe Philippines so I said why not, let’s give this a try. And now I’m here,” Vicky said.

Ingram is the appointed representative for Miss Mandaue in the Miss Universe Philippines 2024.

The power of self-talk

In every endeavor she undertakes, Vicky said that feeling nervous is perfectly normal. However, she has developed a personal ritual to calm her nerves before stepping onto the stage: she gives herself a pep talk to ground herself in confidence and determination.

“I really see the power of self-talk. I always give myself a pep talk whenever I step out to show myself on the stage and it helps me grounded and makes me present in the moment. Like, ‘This is it Lord, this is it,” she said.

‘Always be patient with your dreams’

Throughout her journey, Vicky has caught up in multiple hurdles in life, but one thing she learned along the process is the importance of patience in pursuing every dream.

For the best lesson she could impart to others, this is what she says, “Always be patient with your dreams. Oftentimes, we are so focused on running, going after big things so we can compete with others but we should never forget that our timelines are different from other people’s timelines and that is okay. Do not feel pressure. Your time will come.”

TAGS: beauty pageants, FACES OF CEBU, people
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