During a recent appearance on the “Worklife with Adam Grant” podcast, Dolly Parton said she was told early in her career not to look “cheap.”
Though the country singer is now known for her iconic hair, makeup and outfits, Parton revealed that she initially faced some backlash over her personal style.
“The main piece of advice people wanted to give me was to change my look — to be simpler with my hair and the way I dress,” Parton said, per People. “Not to look so cheap, no one would ever take me seriously, they said.”
The “9 to 5” star attributed her unique interpretation of glamorous attire to her rural Tennessee upbringing.
“The way I looked and the way I looked back then was a country girl’s idea of glamor. People wanted me to change clothes, they thought I looked cheap. But I shaped my look after the city bum,” explained. Parton out.
“Everyone said, ‘She’s garbage.’ And in my little girl’s mind I thought, ‘Well, that’s what I’ll be when I grow up,'” the singer continued. “It was really a look I was looking for. I wasn’t a natural beauty.”
“I just like to look the way I look,” added Parton. “I’m so outgoing in my personality that I need my looks to match it all.”Dolly Parton at the 1989 Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on October 9, 1989. AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
The iconic country singer also spoke about her outfits in a recent Insider interview to promote her new line of Southern desserts with Duncan Hines.
Parton said she always loved the costumes she wore in movies, including “the little blue jacket, yellow sweater, or the cowgirl outfit” from “9 to 5.”
But the outfit that matters most to Parton is the dress she wore to sing “He’s Alive” at the 1989 Country Music Association Awards.
“It was beautiful, with white beads, pearls and everything all over the dress,” Parton told Insider. “And when you raised your arms, it looked like wings underneath.”
“That night when I sang that song, it was so emotional for me,” she continued. “I was just overcome with a really strong spiritual high. So it left a memory in my head and every time I see that dress in a picture I think about that night and singing that song. I felt like I did something good in the world. So that dress is the most memorable to me so far.”
Listen to Parton’s full podcast episode below.
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