Dolly Parton covers one of the covers for Elle Magazine’s Women In Hollywood issue. Do you need a little dollop of sunshine in your life? Then this is the interview for you. I’ve always been a Dolly fan, but I’m not unique there – loving Dolly Parton is universal. She is beloved by every demographic, by every music fan, by every music snob. She’s a fashion icon, a wig icon and a business icon. She is a uniquely American treasure but, again, everybody loves her, all around the world. Her interview with Elle is great too – go here to read. She’s promoting her new Netflix series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, where each episode does a deeper dive into a song Dolly wrote. JOLENE! Some highlights from this piece:
Being told to tone down the makeup: Her friend Chet Atkins told her, “‘Dolly, you need to tone it down. You’re wearing too much makeup. You need to have a little more taste. People are never going to take you serious[ly] as a songwriter and singer. I know you’re great at that, but people are just going to look at you like it’s all about the body.’ I said, ‘You know what? I can’t separate the two. This is who I am.’ I not only didn’t tone it down, I figured if my work was truly good enough, people would eventually recognize that. It was about me knowing who I was, being happy with me, and feeling comfortable in the way I presented myself. If I was happy, I could make other people happy. That’s how I’ve always looked at it: that I look totally artificial, but I am totally real, as a writer, as a professional, as a human being. A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond.”
More is more: “I was not a raving natural beauty. I just wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be striking. I wanted to be colorful. I wanted to be seen. When I went to Nashville, I always overdid it. When they say, ‘Less is more,’ I say, ‘That’s BS. More is more.’”
Knowing her business from a young age: “It was unusual at the time for a girl to be demanding. I never thought of it [as being] about being a woman or a man. I thought of it as being an artist, and a writer, and a person of a strong will. I had grown up in a family of men, with six brothers, my dad, my uncle, and my grandpa, who I loved dearly. I understood and knew the nature of men, so I had no fear of working in that world, because I understood it. I just felt like I had something that was sellable. I would go into meetings saying, ‘I think I got something that could make us all a lot of money.’ I never felt that I had to cower or to feel like, because I was a girl, I had to do it any different. I just believed in myself. Still do.”
The impact of ‘9 to 5’ and the Me Too movement: “I think that brought so much stuff to the forefront that people had not been willing to look at, even though they knew it was happening. At that time, we really hoped that it would make a bigger difference than it actually did. Although I do feel like it did open a lot of doors and a lot of eyes to a lot of problems that we’d been having since time began. We still have a lot of the same problems. I think that we just have to keep working at it. I think the new #MeToo movement and all that stuff has thrown more light onto it. I think women are in a better place now than they’ve ever been before.”
Whether she’s experienced harassment: “I’ve been fortunate, more fortunate than most women have. I’ve certainly been harassed in my life. I’ve certainly had to put up with a lot of BS. I was always strong enough to walk away from it and not to have to fall under it. I was lucky that I was in a good country town, where the men in the business have wives, and sisters, and cousins, and children. It’s not like out there in the big world, like in California, where they chew you up and spit you out, or in New York, where they don’t have time, or in other big cities.”
On being a fashion icon: “God, no. To me, that’s still one of the funniest things, when people say that I am a fashion icon. I just always thought people thought I was so gaudy. I am! I’m flashy, and I’m flamboyant. Had I not been a girl, I definitely would have been a drag queen. I like all that flamboyance. I love all that sparkle, and shine, and color… I guess it’s always fashionable to be yourself and to be comfortable with who you are, and what you wear, and what you’re in.”
“A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond.” A motto for life. Seriously, I’m getting quite emotional thinking about how much I love Dolly and how wonderful and unproblematic she is. She’s so pure… a diamond covered in rhinestones. She also talks in this piece about how she’s starting her own fashion line and WIG LINE. We’ll be able to buy Dolly-branded WIGS soon. Someone tell Duchess Kate!!
Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Elle.