This is the surprising inspiration for Dolly Parton’s look

Despite her steady rise to stardom, singer Dolly Parton has always remained grounded. As someone who speaks out on behalf of those who’ve been silenced, the country music legend consistently proves she’s not afraid of what others might think. And, as the “Coat of Many Colors” creator told Billboard, she feels it’s her responsibility to advocate for those who are constantly judged by the color of their skin.

I understand people having to make themselves known and felt and seen,” Parton said. “And of course Black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter? No!” After all, Parton knows what it’s like to be judged by your appearance, as her big hair and thick makeup frequently garner harsh criticism. Thus, as she noted, she’s not a judgmental person.

“I do believe we all have a right to be exactly who we are, and it is not my place to judge. All these good Christian people that are supposed to be such good Christian people, the last thing we’re supposed to do is to judge one another,” Parton explained. “God is the judge, not us. I just try to be myself. I try to let everybody else be themselves… I would never dream of hurting anybody on purpose.” 

According to Elle, while Parton realizes others think she seems “artificial,” she has embraced the “country girl’s idea of glamour” wholeheartedly. Here’s what ultimately inspired Parton’s famous look.

Dolly Parton based her look on someone from her hometown

When speaking with Southern Living, interviewer Jennifer V. Cole noted that superstar Dolly Parton often “jokes” about how she based her look on her hometown’s trollop. However, as the country music singer quickly explained, that claim was quite accurate. “That’s not a joke. That’s the honest truth. But it fits my personality, too,” she said. “I was not a natural beauty, and I always wanted to be pretty. I just have such an outgoing personality that it’s fitting that I would be overdone.”

While Parton’s inspiration might come as a surprise to some, the legend has always been open about her over-the-top approach to beauty. In an interview with Elle, Parton reiterated that she wasn’t a “natural beauty,” adding, “I just wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be striking. I wanted to be colorful. I wanted to be seen.” Thus when Parton moved to Nashville, she didn’t care who she offended with her big hair and glitzy makeup.

“When they say, ‘Less is more,’ I say, ‘That’s BS. More is more,'” Parton continued. “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.” Plus, as Parton once said, “I’m not offended by all of the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb… and I also know that I’m not blonde” (via People). We love her unwavering confidence!

When critics told Dolly Parton to 'tone it down,' she did the opposite

Although criticism comes with the territory for those in the limelight, humanitarian Dolly Parton has never let someone else’s opinion distract her from being herself. For instance, Parton mentioned her friend and mentor Chet Atkins once offered unsolicited input. “‘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,'” Parton recalled, per Elle. “‘I know you’re great at that, but people are just going to look at you like it’s all about the body.'” But Parton didn’t let Atkins stop her.

“I not only didn’t tone it down, I figured if my work was truly good enough, people would eventually recognize that,” Parton added. “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,” she continued. “A rhinestone shines just as good as a diamond.”

And as country music star Kacey Musgraves told Elle, Parton “managed to walk in looking like a soft and beautiful woman, did business like a man, and left with the respect of both sexes.” Parton never doubted her talents, and her example continues to inspire fans everywhere.

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