Dolly Parton has always managed to “Jolene” into her instincts.
The country music legend says she has received bad career advice that focused on her appearance.
“The main advice that people wanted to give me was to change my look and to go simpler with my hair and the way that I dress, not to look so cheap,” she said earlier this month on the “WorkLife with Adam Grant” podcast. “Nobody was ever going to take me serious, they would say.”
Parton, 76, said she had an idea of what image she was trying to portray.
“The way I look and the way I looked then was a country girl’s idea of glam, just like I wrote in my ‘Backwoods Barbie’ song, but people wanted me to change,” she said. “They thought I looked cheap, but I patterned my look after the town tramp. And everybody said, ‘She’s trash.’ And in my little girl mind, I thought, ‘Well, that’s what I’m going to be when I grow up.’”
The Grammy winner, who recently rejected her nomination for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, also said she was keenly aware that how she looks should reflect who she is as a person.
“So, it was really like a look that I was after,” she said. “And I wasn’t a natural beauty and, so, I just like to look the way I look. I’m so outgoing inside in my personality, that I need the way I look to match all of that.”
“I have never thought of myself as being fashionable,” she told Vogue in 2020.
Parton also said she has a strong belief about her makeup.
“I know that I always like to wear a lot of makeup. More than probably I should wear, but I think more is more, and whoever made up that ‘less is more’ is full of it,” she told Vogue.
Parton’s approach to cosmetics extends beyond being in public, too, since she has said she wears makeup to bed.
“I clean my face in the mornings. You never know if you’re going to wreck the bus, you never know if you’re going to be somewhere in a hotel and there’s going to be a fire. So I leave my makeup on at night and clean my face in the morning,” she told The New York Times in 2019.