Dolly Parton covers Elle: ‘A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond’

Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in South Africa

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.”

[From Elle]

“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!!

9 to 5 the Musical Gala Night

Photos courtesy of WENN, cover courtesy of Elle.

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42 Responses to “Dolly Parton covers Elle: ‘A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond’”

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  1. Escondista says:

    Can Dolly run for President?

    PSA: her Imagination Library is amazing. The books she sends (for free) are really wonderful, high quality, and they are always age appropriate for my 2 year old daughter.
    My charitable donations go to NPR and her organization every year.

    • Meghan says:

      One of my son’s favorite books came from her program. I wanted to buy a copy for a friend and it was kind of expensive. He should be getting another book any day now. I think the last one was about a bunny who gets glasses? We haven’t read it yet, he usually doesn’t realize a new one has arrived until 3 months later.

    • asdfa says:

      oh my GOD I want her to run for President. I love her so goddamn much.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    Dolly also has a new musical coming out: Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol. It resets the Scrooge story in the Smoky Mountains with music by Dolly. It opens in Boston next month.

  3. Jenn says:

    Jolene has been one of my favourite songs of all time, but I hate the message it sends! Lol. Jolene, if you can take my man, you can have him! Lol

    • BeanieBean says:

      I never paid attention to the words until I listened to the Miley Cyrus version. Yeah, not crazy about the message. Still a Dolly fan, and her philanthropy is beyond admirable.

  4. frizz says:

    I disagree: she was naturally beautiful. Google “young dolly Parton” and see! Even with all of the work she’s still recognizable as herself.

    • horseandhound says:

      absolutely. she was very very very beautiful. I find it sad that she didn’t know that. I love her personality and voice, though.

    • Allergy says:

      Young Dolly Parton was absolutely stunning. And I think she’s still beautiful.

    • Ariela says:

      OMG she was gorgeous! (Still is)

    • Christin says:

      She looks like she did as a young girl, too.

      A guy my husband knows who grew up near Dolly, described her as just a “skinny little girl” when he played with her and her siblings. They were all just poor kids, growing up in a very rural area. He had no idea she’d become a mega-star.

    • Laura says:

      This! She was absolutely naturally beautiful.

    • Fleur says:

      She was absolutely gorgeous. I think what she means is even in her youth, in order to feel comfortable and pretty she always presented herself with a face of make-up, bouffant hair, pretty clothing, plus a little jewelry. You have to remember what was popular among female stars of the time that she started out—that super naturalistic late-60s/early 70s look: no makeup, fresh face, straight long hair, jeans, no bra, looking like you just woke up frolicking in a field, natural and beautiful. Look up young Joan Baez, young Ali MacGraw, young Olivia Hussey for what was popular among her contemporaries.

    • minx says:

      I agree, she’s beautiful.

  5. C-Shell says:

    The Elle article is an awesome read! I love what Kacey Musgrave said about “just go ahead and carve Dolly onto Mount Rushmore.” Seriously.

  6. smcollins says:

    Dolly Parton: American Treasure and Icon.

  7. Frida_K says:

    I love Dolly Parton and I love her sense of style. She’s beautiful inside and out.

  8. ChillyWilly says:

    Is there anyone on earth who doesn’t love Dolly? If you don’t like Dolly, I don’t like you. Period.

  9. otaku fairy.... says:

    ” ‘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.”

    Now THAT’s self-respect. THAT’s feminist.

    A person who genuinely sees and respects women as human beings doesn’t need a woman to be masculine, be their chaste, or be their modest in order to see her talent, her brains, kindness, dedication to progressive causes, or to take her pain or abuse seriously.

  10. Call_me_al says:

    I love what she says about just being yourself kinda makes you into an icon. Being yourself is so hard sometimes, but her honesty and fidelity to herself shines through.

  11. Christin says:

    She’s never forgotten her roots.

    Her lifelong confidence in her business skills is incredible. She held on to her song rights, even when Elvis wanted one of them (but his manager insisted on splitting credits/profits). She knows how to make a dollar over the long haul.

  12. Giddy says:

    Dolly’s kindness and generosity are legendary, especially in Tennessee. Hospital bills are quietly paid, schools given computer labs, in fact she has built complete hospitals and schools. She has literally given millions and has also given generously of her time to concerts raising funds for good causes. She meets privately with children from the Make-a-wish foundation, gives them lots of hugs, and sings to them. The best saying about Dolly is that the biggest part of her is her heart.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      And she is very humble about it – I read someone that it stems for her own very poor background and that she has a strong sense of community.

      I lover her, she is one of the great role models. I used to have a book called ‘Dollyisms’ filled with her quotes – its amazing.

  13. smee says:

    Rhinestones are a better use of her money. De Beers runs a diamond cartel.

    • minx says:

      I replaced my smaller diamond engagement ring with a larger fake diamond stone, set in gold, and I love it. It’s beautiful and no one can tell the difference. It cost about $100 so if I lose it I can just buy a new one. I don’t have to pamper it. It makes me happy every time I look at it.

  14. Jess says:

    If you haven’t already, please check out the podcast Dolly Parton’s America! It is three episodes in right now and is SO GOOD. It’s a deep dive on her songs but also her cultural impact and icon status. She really is the best person ever <3

    • Deadnotsleeping says:

      I’m so glad you brought up Dolly Parton’s America! I have been loving all the episodes. It’s so late I’m sure no one will see this, but it’s a great podcast as is Radiolab.

  15. Catherine says:

    Her business side of things is amazing

    And that shade can’t be extended to BOTH duchesses………..👀☕️

  16. BeanieBean says:

    I love Dolly, I do, but–her saying she managed to avoid being molested by men in the industry because she was ‘in a good country town’ not like out in CA or NYC doesn’t sit quite right. Men in CA & NYC have wives & daughters & sisters & mothers, too; that doesn’t keep any man from molesting or harassing women. Those southern ‘good country towns’ & states are known for being the worst places for women to live.

  17. Amiblue says:

    Dolly has always been a diamond.

  18. Nightsky says:

    Young Dolly was gorgeous. She still is….a striking example of aging with grace, style and flair. Does anyone else see shades of Sharon Tate in young Dolly? There is something in Dolly’s eyes, smile and face shape that bring Sharon Tate to mind.

  19. adastraperaspera says:

    National treasure. Enjoyed seeing her interviewed in Linda Ronstadt’s new movie “The Sound of My Voice.”

  20. Belly says:

    Love Love LOVE Dolly. Everything about her. She’s so smart, so genuine, so kind, so fun and so beautiful. *heart eyes*

  21. fishface says:

    Love Dolly.

  22. holly hobby says:

    I do have to say she knows just when to stop with the plastic surgery. I’m pretty sure she has had work done but it’s tastefully done and she doesn’t look like every other stretched and botoxed celeb out there. She looks natural.

    I liked her interview too.

  23. Poppy says:

    Love. Her. 9 to 5 is work goals for me. She’s just the best