I look like a woman but I think like a man. I’ve done business with men who think I’m as silly as I look. By the time they realize I’m not, I’ve done got the money and gone.
Born on the banks of the Little Pigeon River in East Tennessee, Dolly Parton has always acknowledged her roots, in interviews and in her music. She refers to her upbringing with a big family and no money in many of her songs, including a classic and personal favorite, “Coat of Many Colors”.
Now I know we had no money/ but I was rich as I could be/ in my coat of many colors/ my momma made for me. Made just for me.
She’s released over forty studio albums, two holiday albums and seventeen collaboration albums, thirteen with longtime mentor and professional partner, Porter Wagoner. She went solo after “Jolene” became a big hit, and wrote “I Will Always Love You” to honor her artistic and professionally beneficial relationship with Wagoner.
And I hope life, will treat you kind
And I hope that you have all
That you ever dreamed of
Oh, I do wish you joy
And I wish you happiness
But above all this
I wish you love
Dolly publicly supports other young female artists, namely Taylor Swift and her god-daughter Miley Cyrus. Swift has received negative flack for turning to pop music from country music (a transition Dolly made in the late seventies) and Miley’s received extensive criticism for–do I need to explain? We know. Dolly entered the public sphere at a young age, and has a lot of empathy for people figuring out who they are, and also for knowing who they are.
It’s not easy being young… It’s hard to know what to do. You’ve almost got to sacrifice your damn soul just to get anything done.
She talks often of having always felt different, which shows in her bold fashion choices.
I would never stoop so low as to be fashionable.
A lot of attention is paid to her ostentatious appearance, which is exactly what Dolly wants from people. Her blonde wigs, heavily make-upped face, illustrious bust and flashy outfit choices are her trademark. They are part of the Dolly Parton show, a show that she’s running. There’s something genius to be said for creating a personal look so iconic that there are drag queen Dolly Parton lookalike contests. She entered one of them once and lost, by the way.
Despite the rigorous upkeep that her appearance must require, she always keeps a sense of humor and self-awareness about her looks.
Dolly doesn’t apologize for who she is, and proves that one doesn’t need to bring other people down to raise themselves up. A veritable rainbow in the country and pop music landscape, you can benefit further from Dolly Parton magic by visiting the Dollywood amusement park in Pigeon Ford, TN, or if you have or know a child under the age of five, sign them up for the Imagination Library and they’ll receive a book every month.