Just a small-town girl with a big-time dream. Bailey Kirkpatrick Sexton says the Lord put a dream in her heart and gave her the ability to achieve it.
Sexton grew up in Oneida, living inside the walls of the same small house her entire life. Daughter of Larry and Donna Kirkpatrick, she attended Huntsville Elementary and Middle School where she was a cheerleader and Football Homecoming Queen.
Like any other girl, Sexton enjoyed going “mudding” and received her first four-wheeler at a young age. She even married her high school sweetheart who she dated all throughout high school and college. Her life may appear average, however, now barely a college graduate of three years, Sexton is living her God-given dream. Driven, Sexton has traveled from Coast to Coast holding two internships with The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) and one with Country Music Television (CMT). Each journey brought her one step closer to where she needed to be. Her life is anything but ordinary, Sexton fought her fears and reached beyond her comfort zone, following her heart and trusting in God all the way to Los Angeles, California, where she currently resides with her husband, Jacob Sexton, working as a personal assistant to Hollywood Star, Candace Cameron Bure.
“Scott County will always be home,” Sexton stated. “I wouldn’t change the way I was raised. I love the people there.”
Sexton was in the sixth grade, but she recalls it vividly, watching her favorite TV show, Zoey 101, and telling her mother she wanted to visit the place it was filmed. Now, not only has she visited that place she once dreamed of, she can drive right by it every day. Sexton is hardly 24 years old but has done more in the past six years than most do in a lifetime. Some might call her driven, but she believes her drive comes mainly from the Lord. While dreaming of entertainment as a youth, Sexton had no idea this world was attainable until she got a glimpse into stardom.
“A lot of people in Scott County, including myself, don’t know what’s available to them,” Sexton stated. “I never realized entertainment was possible until my aunt started taking me every summer behind the shoots at CMT. I would be a fly on the wall, but I loved it. My aunt helped me to realize this world did exist, and you could be a part of it.”
Sexton graduated Scott High School in 2011 as Valedictorian of her class. Still unsure of her educational path, she moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and began her college career at Austin Peay State University. During her first year, Sexton was surrounded by friends who had declared very common majors. Entertainment continued to resurface in her mind as an option, but the thoughts were repressed because the career didn’t seem plausible.
“My freshman year in college I hadn’t declared a major yet, but entertainment kept popping up,” Sexton said. “I steered clear of an entertainment major initially because it wasn’t safe, it was unknown. People I knew were majoring in things like Education and Physical Therapy. Those were great, but I just didn’t enjoy them.”
Happiness is what it came down to for Sexton as she followed her heart and took a gutsy step, declaring a major of Broadcast Media. She credits her parents and the Lord for giving her the courage to pronounce such an unusual and uncomfortable major.
“I knew that at the end of the day you need to love what you do,” Sexton said. “I have amazing parents. Parents that aren’t fearful. Parents that never held me back and never pushed me forward. Parents that never hovered, but were always there. They never clipped my wings but raised me up to help me fly. They were a huge contributor to my confidence.”
Now with a major declared the young sophomore dedicated herself towards her dream. Having done thorough research prior to becoming a broadcast media student, she knew she would need a lot of experience to be successful in the field. Applying for hundreds of internships, Sexton accepted her first position with CMT as a production assistant in the news department for the show “CMT Top 20 Countdown”.
“At first I was more interested in hosting, but I discovered I like behind the scenes,” Sexton said. “It was really an amazing experience. I got to go on interviews with the producers, and I transcribed a lot of interviews for the producers.”
Sexton continued to dedicate herself after her first summertime internship was over. In hopes to gain even more experience, she sought after another position. Stepping way out of her comfort zone she accepted her second internship in New York City with NBC and “The Today Show.” One of only ten applicants accepted and the only one without internal connections, Sexton knew this was a Godsend. Hardly even an adult, Sexton landed an apartment in the city and found roommates to share it with her. She faced fears of the unknown as she took her first plane ride alone to New York.
“I was one of only ten applicants to be chosen for the position, and the only person without internal connections, she said. “The internship definitely came from God, and I could easily say it was the best summer of my life.”
With one year left before graduation, Sexton decided she loved producing and knew she had to complete an internship on the West Coast. Again, she applied for hundreds of positions, but finally accepted another internship with NBC and “E!” News. During her last semester in college, Sexton went all online with her classes and drove cross country to California. The transition, although beneficial, was grievous for the recently engaged woman.
“It was a very difficult transition for me,” Sexton stated. “The first four months I cried more than I laughed. I was very lonely, and sad being away from my family.”
After several months of working across the country, Sexton began settling in. She made friends and got involved with a church. An internal struggle grew inside her; she liked living in California, and she knew God wanted her there.
“There was an internal struggle for me because I truly felt the Lord drawing me to Los Angeles,” Sexton stated. “I was terrified because I was about to have to decide where I wanted to go, and sad because I did like it there.”
The internship ended and Sexton graduated in May of 2015. Without a job lined up, Sexton moved back to California having only the support of her family and fiancé. She was afraid but full of faith.
“I just knew it would work out without a plan,” Sexton said. “I knew in my gut the Lord would provide for me.”
Upon returning, Sexton “hustled”, working part-time jobs as a casting recruiter for a reality show, transcribing for an audio recording company, and a producing assistant for an awards show. Word of mouth travels in the industry, and that’s what landed Sexton her first full-time job.
“I hustled,” Sexton said. “I was kind and willing to do anything to get experience and meet people.”
Willingness paid off in more than one way for this young Scott County native. She now works as a personal assistant to Candace Cameron Bure. Cameron is popularly remembered for her role as “DJ Tanner” in the former show, Full House. Now Bure stars in Fuller House and recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars. While acting as a liaison to get things done, Sexton travels alongside Bure while she films for Hallmark, starring as “Aurora Teagarden” and in many other Christmas films. Sexton calls Bure an “amazing boss” and an “amazing person” and is elated with her job.
“She (Bure) says I’m her extra set of ears, hands, brain, and mouth,” Sexton said. “I’m her extra. I help coordinate a lot of things.”
This former Scott County girl may not be an accredited film producer at the ripe age of 25, but the film industry is also a slow climbing ladder. There is plenty of time left for the future, but enjoying the now is important to Sexton.
“I think it’s very important to live in the now,” Sexton stated. “I’m working in the industry I chased after and I’m happy. At the end of the day it’s about pursuing God’s will for your life because where God wants you to be, you will be truly happy. I knew the Lord was calling me to this.”