“Staying true to myself. I’m odd. Some have called me quirky.” Q&A with Detroit Legal News #lmamkt

Thank you, Sheila Pursglove, Joel K. Epstein, Brian Cox, Brad Thompson, and crew! Front page above the fold TWO WEEKS in a row? It’s the hair, isn’t it? Tell me it’s the hair. In all seriousness, thank you for the kindness, friendship, and support – it means the world.

Link to full Q&A: https://legalnews.com/detroit/1519502/

Roy Sexton leads Clark Hill Law’s marketing, branding, and communications efforts in collaboration with the firm’s team of marketing and business development professionals. He has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, business development, and strategic planning.

Sexton is passionate about problem solving, facilitating business growth, crafting communications strategy, and enhancing law firm culture. He works closely with the marketing team to advance the firm’s digital and social media presence and external engagement, using multi-channel distribution and data collection. This enables the team to quantify results and use those results to produce thoughtfully and strategically organized content for clients and prospects. He also advises attorneys on marketing and business development strategy by curating relationships among external publications and media outlets and creating the appropriate platforms and opportunities for attorneys to promote their knowledge and practice.

A resident of Saline, Sexton has been heavily involved regionally and nationally in the Legal Marketing Association – LMA International (LMA) as a board member, content expert, and presenter. He will serve as the LMA’s president in 2023. In addition, Sexton is a published author of two books: “ReelRoyReviews,” Volumes 1 and 2.

What would surprise people about your job?

People still seem pleasantly surprised that I have a global focus. Clark Hill is a huge firm with an international footprint, and, while Michigan will always be home, my responsibilities span the U.S., Mexico, and Ireland. And my fab boss Susan Ahern, our CMBDO, is based in Dublin. I’ve learned to become quite savvy about time zones!

What’s your favorite law-related TV show?

I always say “The Good Wife.” The trials and tribulations of Alan Cumming’s character in particular. In a law firm, no two days are the same when you hold a marketing role. It’s thrilling and sometimes comical how your work runs the gamut from the sublime to, well, I won’t finish that sentence.

If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would that be?

Weird as this is to type, I’d trade places with my mom Susie Sexton (who recently passed) so she could have a good chance to say goodbye. She left this world rather abruptly (heart attack), and, having sheltered away for months and months because of COVID, I don’t know that she got a chance to reconnect with people she loved before she vanished. I don’t mean all that to seem as dour as it reads, but I wish she’d had one truly happy day before she was gone.

What do you do to relax?

My inner introvert shines on days off. Admittedly, I have to get through any and all chores first. I also eat the things I don’t much like on my plate first too. But once I’m free and clear, it’s pajamas, comic books, bad pop music, playing with our fur baby Hudson, having a quiet dinner with my husband, and watching some escapist TV.

What other career path might you have chosen?

I have a master’s degree in theatre and thought for a while that I would get a Ph.D. and go into academia. But I wanted to eat. I still wonder what would have happened if I’d tried the “chuck it all and audition for Broadway/Hollywood” route also. But I have such a happy and fulfilling life that I have zero regrets.

What would you say to your 16-year-old self?

Enjoy the moments with people you might not know you will see again. We are always all so enmeshed in petty dramas or accomplishing some task or rushing off to the next event that we miss the moments that matter. I wish I’d curbed my rampant collecting habits (books, movies, music, toys) early on and put more energy into collecting experiences. And I wish I’d enjoyed being skinny! I was so self-conscious back then about not looking like a Men’s Health model, and I should have just appreciated being me!

Favorite local hangouts?

Seva Ann Arbor has become our “Cheers.” We are vegetarians and still a bit cautious about getting out and about too many places. The food is glorious but it’s the staff who have made us feel so welcome and loved. Every Saturday night – and sometimes Fridays too. I also am a bit obsessed with Target, and I love Vault of Midnight (comic book shop). I really need to get a life!

Favorite websites?

http://www.cbr.com (Comic Book Resources), http://www.ew.com (Entertainment Weekly), http://www.micechat.com (Disney news), http://www.actionfigureinsider.com (what it sounds like!), and http://www.cnn.com

Favorite app?

Oh, I’m such a menace on all social media apps. And I still love iTunes/Apple Music (lord, I’m a dinosaur). And Layout is a great little app for simple photo collages.

Favorite music?

I’m a gay man raised in the ’80s: Madonna, Janet Jackson, Tori Amos, Cher, Whitney Houston, George Michael, New Order, Kylie Minogue, Annie Lennox, k.d. lang … basically any and all dance pop with a slight edge to it. And that sensibility continues: Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry … well, you get the gist.

What is your happiest childhood memory?

I didn’t have many birthday parties. I am an only child, but it just wasn’t something we did. My birthday is December 28, which coincided with my parents’ wedding anniversary. Smack dab in the middle of the holidays, not super conducive to adding another gathering to the mix. But I remember one (of two) childhood parties where my parents, grandparents, and a couple of friends all gathered in our dining room for cake and ice cream. And it was all just quiet and loving and warm. I had a wonderful childhood, and have so many memories but that one sticks out right now as I just turned 50!

What is your most treasured material possession?

When he died, my grandfather Roy Duncan left me his mother’s college ring with “1900” (her graduation year) emblazoned across it. He wore it every day of his life, and I’ve worn it every day of my life since he passed in 1983. In fact, my fingers are so fat now I can’t remove it even if I wanted to. And I don’t! I just think it’s a beautiful reminder of legacy.

What do you wish someone would invent?

Something that makes everyone less reactionary and adversarial over the smallest things. As I age, I just find it harder and harder to understand why people point out flaws, undercut others, argue to prove a point … it’s just so much time wasted. And when I’m being ugly or receiving ugliness, I just feel it as tension in my chest, and I don’t know why people want to walk around like that.

What has been your favorite year so far and why?

2000 – the year I met my husband. It was also a very tough year – I came out to my parents (didn’t go well … like spectacularly so) and John ended up getting a foreign assignment in Japan just months after we met. But it was a year that brought him into my life, it was a year that taught me resilience, and it was a year that set me on a path to genuine happiness.

What’s the most awe-inspiring place you’ve ever been?

Tokyo, Japan when I was in high school. The U.S. Senate had a program in the ‘80s with Youth for Understanding where they sent two “youth ambassadors” from each state to Japan for the summer. I’d never been anywhere. To be immersed in such a vibrant, dynamic, bustling environment with so much to see and try and do, it was overwhelming in all the best ways. A transformative summer. I still feel electricity in my bones when I’m in big city like that.

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

Help everyone be a bit kinder. It’s easy and lazy to be mean. It takes a little effort to show appreciation. But is so much more rewarding.

What’s one thing you would like to learn to do?

Play the piano. Not ever gonna happen. I’ve tried a few times. I don’t have the discipline. But I wish I could accompany myself as a singer. Would save money!

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I wrote a column for our hometown paper in high school. It was called “AdoleSENSE” and was about my experience in small town America. I also wrote the occasional feature story, and the longer they were, the more money I got. I could write a LOT … which bought me more comic books. I also won the national PTA Reflections writing contest three (or four?) years in a row in elementary school.

If you could have dinner with three people, past or present, who would they be?

Jennifer Garner, Wanda Sykes, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Mindy Kaling, Kelly Ripa, Parker Posey, Aidy Bryant, and Jane Fonda. Yes, I know that is triple the requested number. This answer has evolved for me over the years. Now I just want to have dinner with nice people who will make me laugh or inspire me.

What’s the best advice you ever received?

From my boss Susan Ahern: “Take the pause. Not everything has to be rushed. Pick up the phone before the e-mails escalate. You don’t need to feel pressured to entertain or make everyone laugh. Just be.” It’s a paraphrased compilation of thoughts, but her advice has been transformative.

Favorite place to spend money?

Seva Ann Arbor, Target, Vault of Midnight … and Amazon.com! Heaven help me.

What is your motto?

“It’s okay to not be okay.” Something more recent, but I have a lapel pin with that thought and I wear it frequently. As much to remind myself as anyone else!

Which living person do you most admire?

My dad Don Sexton has been through a lot the past couple of years. He retired, lost my mom, began a new relationship with a wonderful soul, transformed his home (still working on that), travels, and has remained buoyant and resilient throughout. I admire how he has embraced life when others might have crumbled. It’s kept me from crumbling myself just to observe!

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Staying true to myself. I’m odd. Some have called me quirky. But (mostly) I’ve not twisted myself into some unrecognizable version of Roy to get ahead or to be liked. At least I hope that’s the case!

What is the most unusual thing you have done?

I don’t know if this qualifies, but my husband John Mola is a fan of the singing group 98 Degrees. Over the years, we’ve seen them multiple times as they’ve devolved into a career of casino performing. Consequently, their meet and greets are pretty affordable, and we’ve gotten to the point of affirmative facial recognition from them when we show up! Jeff Timmons even follows me on Twitter. Ah, we’ve arrived!

Countdown: Bangerz

From my wonderful publisher Open Books

Just 10 days left until the official launch of ReelRoyReviews, a book of film, music, and theatre reviews, by Roy Sexton!

Some nice early reviews from Roy’s readers…

  • Zach London: “I thoroughly enjoy your reviews. They are short, well-written, and insightful. For movies I have already seen, your reviews articulate things that my subconscious brain recognized but my conscious brain did not. Congratulations on this accomplishment!”
  • Michael Lesich: “I’ve been a fan of Roy’s movie reviews for some time. Armed with a sharp tongue, a quick wit, and an absolute love of movies and theater, Roy brings a passionate and independent voice to movie reviews. Whether you love-em-or-hate-em, Roy’s reviews are never dull. I’m just an average guy, but when I see a new movie, I often check out Roy’s review to get a sense of whether they are worth spending my hard-earned money and scarce time to see them. Grab the popcorn, a giant soda, and a pair of 3D glasses, and get ready to enjoy this book!”
  • Mary Shaull: “Roy Sexton is a brilliant, talented observer of film and life. He can say in a few words exactly what the rest of us wish we could say. He does it for us in this delightful book. Write on, Roy!”

Here’s a snippet of Roy’s review of Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz: “Lord, I’m tired of all the Miley-hatin’. She’s a cute gremlin of a girl trying to distance herself from a smothering Disney-funded-life, for which she should probably feel very grateful. But who can blame her for trying to express her own personality outside the pervasive marketing bubble of the Mouse House?”

Learn more about REEL ROY REVIEWS, VOL 1: KEEPIN’ IT REAL by Roy Sexton at http://www.open-bks.com/library/moderns/reel-roy-reviews/about-book.html. Book can also be ordered at Amazon here.

Twerking, tongue all a-twangle: Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz

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Lord, I’m tired of all the Miley-hatin’. She’s a cute gremlin of a girl trying to distance herself from a smothering Disney-funded-life, for which she should probably feel very grateful. But who can blame her for trying to express her own personality outside the pervasive marketing bubble of the Mouse House?

The last time I felt this over-protective of a pampered, overpaid pop princess was was when Britney shaved her noggin and started hitting people over the head with umbrellas (ellas, ellas, ellas, ay!). Wow, I LOVED that period of Britney’s career!

And the first time I felt this way was when Madonna released the underrated Erotica album and overrated Sex book (and completely bat-sh*t movie Body of Evidence) to much over-heated media alarm during my sophomore year of college. Yeah, Britney and Madonna survived quite well (thank you very much) without my nerdish big brotherly over-worry…and I suspect Miley will too.

I don’t typically review music albums here (though I buy a lot of them). However, I have zero interest in the current slate of Oscar-bait Fall films. I do not want to watch Gravity‘s Sandra Bullock moon around, quite literally, as an astronaut divorced from her George Clooney-piloted shuttle (really?!?! who cast that one?!!?).  Nor do I want to suffer through Captain Phillip‘s Tom Hanks besieged by nautical pirates straight from central casting. (Now, if Johnny Depp’s fey, bejeweled Jack Sparrow made an appearance in either film, I might check them out, but no…)

SO, with that said, you, dear reader, are getting a micro-review of Miley Cyrus’ unfortunately titled CD (or whatever the download generation calls them) Bangerz. And, you know what? It’s freaking fantastic.

Why did Miley feel the need to twerk, tongue all a-twangle, in nude-colored underwear on MTV last month? ‘Cause no states, neither red nor blue, would set her free of her godawfully tangled Hannah Montana wig and the Disney-fied alter ego that it represented.

But you know what (again)? Ain’t nobody talkin’ ’bout Hannah now… so good on ya’, Miley!

How about the album? Hey, it’s a pop album, so it’s going to be a catch-all-of-crazy … and a darn infectious one. There are beautifully melodic offerings like album opener “Adore You” and monster hit “Wrecking Ball” (naked Miley video notwithstanding).

However, the real winners are when Miley lets her freak flag FLY – nothing like a liberal progressive redneck who doesn’t give one rat’s a$$ what any of us think, putting together an album on sale at both Target and Wal-Mart … with varying bonus tracks for retail!

What the heck does that preceding sentence mean? Check out “4X4,” Miley’s ode to monster trucks, with a special appearance by singer/rapper Nelly, that sounds like the track Jessica Simpson should have contributed to The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack. Or “FU” (title self-explanatory) that sounds like a bizarro mash-up of The Scissor Sisters and The Sherman Brothers and that pretty much tells ex-fiance Liam Hemsworth that (without question) Cyrus is over him … and, for that matter, over all swaggering dudes by the sound of it.

Of course “We Can’t Stop” (which alongside fellow Hollywood-progeny Robin Thicke’s “Parallel Lines” was an inescapable 2013 summer anthem) is zanily fantastic. But the album standout is (unfortunately) a bonus track “On My Own.” This is Miley’s big pop anthem, a hybrid of the best stripper-pole-Britney-Spears and persecuted-dance-pop-Michael-Jackson. I can’t get enough of that song.

There are many other great tracks: the Pharrell Williams-produced “#getitright” (I hate that hashtag gimmick and I hate boudoir come-on songs, but darn if this one isn’t catchy) or uber-pissed-off stomper “Do My Thang” or delightfully subversive “Someone Else” (which has Madonna-esque fun interpolating 1 Corinthians 13:4 … you know, that whole “Love is patient, love is kind” claptrap).

It’s a fun album and possibly a great one. Who cares what Miley had to do to get our attention! It worked. It made me buy the CD, and I’ve been listening to it all week.

And one more thing… As much as I love Annie Lennox, Sinead O’Connnor, Kelly Clarkson, and all the other pop divas who have thrown acid in Miley’s face, all of their critiques come off as sour grapes. This next generation-post-feminist-icon-in-the-making is “doing her own thang” and telling all of us to go take a flying leap … as we line up eagerly in the check-out line to buy her special edition CD … with bonus tracks!