Of course the Queen of Country dishes out sound advice! After so many years in the spotlight, Dolly Parton has bestowed a lot of wise words upon us. From her marriage of 50 years to her countless wigs, Dolly is an open book. Here are some of her frank and fearless takes on life.
On her appearance:
"It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!"
"I’m gaudy and flashy and I’m probably gonna always be that.”
"I like all that frilly stuff. Like I've always said, it's a good thing I was a girl, or I'd definitely have been a drag queen! Most definitely."
"I've often made the statement that I'd never stoop so low as to be fashionable. That's the easiest thing in the world to do."
“I think of myself as somebody who’s just as smart as any man I know. I don’t think anybody should ever be judged by whether they’re male or female, black, white, blue, or green. I think people should be allowed to be themselves and to show the gifts they have, and be able to be acknowledged for that and to be paid accordingly. You know, I love men, but I love women too and I’m proud to be a woman. I just really try to encourage women to be all that they can be and I try to encourage men to let us be that.”
"But through the years, I’ve always used my femininity to my benefit. I’ve never slept with anybody to get to the top, though. If I slept with somebody, it’s ’cause I wanted to, not to get from point A to point B.”
"I have a guilt complex about being the one that's so successful when so many of them [other performers] are so much more talented than me. And so many friends that I know in Nashville that have twice the talent that I've had, that I've seen them come and go through the years and never see their dream come true."
“You need to really believe in what you’ve got to offer, what your talent is — and if you believe, that gives you strength.”
“You never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”
On joking about her boobs:
"It don't bother me so much unless people dwell on it. Get tacky and all. It's part of the act. If someone gets really carried away, well, I sort of pity him. Cause it's his problem, not mine. Other than that, I'm a good sport. I know some of the best Dolly Parton jokes. I made 'em up myself."
“I don’t mind. I’ve kind of exposed them. I had big boobs all my life, but I had ’em made even bigger, so why not just go along with the fun. People hopefully now at least know there is a heart beneath the boobs and that’s one of the reasons my boobs are so big, it’s just all heart pushin’ out my chest.”
"I’m a very sensitive person. I’m a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve. I have to not harden my heart, because I want to stay open to feel things. So when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I’m mad, I’m mad all over. I’m just a person; I like to experience whatever the feeling is and whatever I’m going through."
“I’m proud of my hillbilly, white trash background. To me that keeps you humble; that keeps you good. And it doesn’t matter how hard you try to outrun it—if that’s who you are, that’s who you are. It’ll show up once in a while.”
On the number of wigs she owns:
“I don't know, I've got better things to do than count them. But I wear one every day of the week, so probably 365.”
On her husband of over 50 years
“I stay gone. [Laughs] … He’s a good guy; we know each other so well. I know every line in his face, and he knows every hair in my wig.”
For more Dolly wisdom, read BUST June/July 2014 BUST cover story.
Vintage photos; Gifs via Giphy.
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Kat Kothen-Hill is a BUST intern living in Brooklyn, NY.
Follow her on Twitter:@katkothenhill and on Instagram:kitkatkothenhill.