Dr. Muftiah Jokomba: ‘Step into the room and be your authentic self.’

Nigerian-American Dr. Muftiah Jokomba, known as The ModelPT, is a talented and accomplished physical therapist and practicing model with a passion for excellence. She expertly navigates these distinct worlds with her unwavering commitment to the well-being of her patients, involvement in leadership roles, community engagements, and modeling in multiple capacities. 

With a profound appreciation for the art of healing and self-expression, she illustrates her extraordinary ability to balance a multifaceted life. Dr. Muftiah Jokomba earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the prestigious South College School of Physical Therapy in Knoxville, Tennessee, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Howard University in Washington, D.C., United States of America, with Magna Cum Laude honours. 

She is highly skilled in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, and her clinical experience proves her profound understanding of human anatomy, biomechanics, and the nuances of human movement. Dr. Muftiah is deeply committed to guiding individuals on their path to recovery and well-being, crafting custom treatment plans, and providing compassionate care that empowers patients to overcome pain, regain mobility, and enhance their overall quality of life. Her Network had a chat with her on navigating distinct professional worlds, her quest for excellence, and more! Read and be inspired.

Your career as a model and creative personifies passion, talent, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. Have you always wanted to be a model, and how did your journey into the industry begin?

Oh, definitely! For as long as I can remember, even before moving to America, being a model is just something that has always made sense to me. I have always been that person everyone says should model or assumes models. As early as age 13-14 years, an agency recruited me and mentioned that I would have to relocate. But my mother, an African one at that, did not initially support that idea, which made the move to model that young shutdown.  I didn’t get back into the fashion/modeling scene until my first year in college when I did a fashion show with my school’s African Students Association, and even though I didn’t go as hard as I could have in the years following that, the rest is history.

Models must be a certain height and weight, have clear skin, and have a distinct appearance. What would you say is your most distinguishing feature?

That is true, even though I might argue that the modeling and fashion world is now more inclusive than before. My most distinguishing feature is my face. Though blessed to be tall with long limbs, thanks to my healthy eating habits, and within the expected weight range for a model, which is also characteristic of what at least 1 or 2 in 5 girls possess, I have a distinct facial feature many lack. Since I stayed in New York, I have met a few people who have allowed me to see myself objectively. Never would I have thought I had a symmetrical face and features that align and are similar to Michaela Coel. I have gotten such compliments from a few renowned photographers and artists I have worked with. While it is still a bit of a learning curve for me to even be able to admit and talk about this, to deny it would be doing a disservice to myself.

Do you have any modelling industry mentors who have helped shape who you are today?

Unfortunately, not really. Of course, there are the likes of Naomi Campbell, Maria Borges, Tyra Banks and others who are role models in the industry, but I can’t say I’ve had a mentor; at least not yet.

You’ve successfully collaborated with several international organisations; can you offer two major takeaways from that experience?

Step into the room and be your authentic self. No matter what setting I have found myself in, it has been for two reasons – One, because I worked to be there or Two, because I was granted the privilege for whatever reason; either way, it happened because of me. I was myself in whatever capacity, so being different would only be self-sabotage.

The reward for good hard work is often more work. The earlier we realise this, the easier and better it will be to sit in our role and accept our power as individuals and collective. The only thing that changes is the type of work you’ll be doing, the rooms that have a perception of you, and ultimately, how you carry and regard yourself.

You also work as a travelling physical therapist. What tactics have you found most effective in creating rapport with patients from varied ethnic backgrounds?

I think being caring is all you need. As a travel PT and even during my clinical rotations in school, I can’t tell you the wide range of patients I have treated. I’ve had patients who can’t put together a complete sentence in English, but one thing that doesn’t require verbal understanding is caring. There are some patients that I am still in contact with to this day from earlier on in my career because I cared about the person in front of me. I listen and pour into my patients as much as I can, and I think that shows; that’s what has worked with every patient I’ve had the privilege of caring for, even the ones that don’t and probably will never like me.

What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had as a travel physical therapist, and how have they impacted your personal and professional growth?

I have quite a few, but there is one that is probably the top 3 for me. It was towards the end of my first placement in LA. I sat with the aides to work on my notes when a patient came for her appointment. Before then, I had seen her around the clinic, but she was not my patient, so I never really knew what was wrong with her. That day, she came in and complained about how she was in so much pain and would go to the emergency room if she could afford it. Though I knew I would not let that happen,

I continued to listen in on her conversation with the aide, and after they took her to the treatment area, I asked her to look at her file and see what was going on. To make a long story short, I introduced myself and set to work on her neck. When I finished, she sat up, turned her head from side to side and suddenly burst into tears. I was automatically concerned and thought I had hurt her even more. After I gave her some tissue and helped her calm down, she told me she had not been able to move her neck in such a pain-free manner since her car accident about eight months prior and didn’t think she ever would again. I teared up as well and hugged her before I discharged her. That experience ignited my passion and mission to do more to help those who trust me to improve the quality of their lives.

Tell us about Dr. Mufti’s plans for the future – The benefactor, the brand, the model, and the travel physical therapist. Are you working on any projects that we should be aware of?

I hope to stay focused in my aspirations and growth projections as a travel physical therapist and model. As a physical therapist, I hope to continue my efforts in helping generations age better with mobility and create more engaging Move with Mufti videos.  While as a model, I am focusing on attacking the Nigerian, European and high fashion markets. One of my soon-to-be-released projects is the launch of my website which curates specific mobility videos for professionals in the creative industry. Others I will reveal soon.

What’s the most impactful thing you’ve done for women in the past year?

Through my Move with Mufti video series, I have helped women of all ages improve their mobility, ease body pains, improve the quality of their lives, and constantly remind my female patients about the need to engage in a daily mobility routine to help improve joint stability and bone health, as women are more prone to osteoporosis as we age.

Therefore, it is necessary to do exercises that can boost happy hormones to combat the hormonal mood cycles.  I also make it a priority to help underprivileged households, especially those with no male presence, with supplies as needed through the charity organisations I belong to, and also find new ways to help humankind and not just women. I am open to collaboration and partnerships with non-profit organisations in Nigeria that align with my philanthropic vision.

What would you like to be remembered for by those who come into contact with you or your work?

I want to be known for my ingenuity in social or professional settings. To be known as the woman who cared genuinely for people, listened to them and made them feel seen.  A woman who challenged people to be the best version of themselves because they witnessed her strive to do the same for herself.

More about Dr. Muftiah Jokomba

Dr. Muftiah is committed to community engagement and has extensive volunteer experience in reputable organizations such as the Petey Greene Program, where she taught and assisted inmates in preparing for the GED; the Houston Food Bank, where she contributed to making food boxes for low-income households; and her involvement with the Voices of Malala Fund, where she demonstrated her commitment to making the world a better place through fundraising and awareness campaigns.

Aside from her dual careers as a physical therapist and a model, Dr. Muftiah has strong ties to her roots and a desire to share the richness of African culture, which led her to found ‘The One,’ an event company that curates upscale and exclusive experiences with an African Influence. Dr. Muftiah Jokomba promotes a holistic and healthy lifestyle as she champions body positivity and encourages self-acceptance through The ModelPT. 

When she is not navigating the conservative world of medicine and the glamorous life in fashion, Dr. Muftiah enjoys yoga, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends. She is also a dedicated philanthropist, volunteering her time and resources to support various charities focused on health, education, and social justice.

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