Dolly Parton Says Her Hometown Was Appalled By Her Look: “They Thought I Screwed Everybody Coming Down The Road”

Dolly Parton country music
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For someone who seems to be a true angel on earth, Mrs. Dolly Parton sure gets a bad rap just for bleaching her dang hair…

Of course, she’s said many times how she first modeled her look after the town tramp she used to see around as a kid growing up in east Tennessee, and she even told Oprah as such on The Oprah Conversation:

“I really patterned my look after the town tramp in our hometown, the trollop.

The one that would kind of walk up and down the streets, get in a car, ride off for a few minutes, come back and get in another car.”

Being so young at the time, Dolly didn’t know much else about the women (or her explicit business transactions, if you will), other than that’s exactly what she wanted to look like when she got older:

“I didn’t know anything about that part then. I just knew she was beautiful. She had all this beautiful blonde hair, red lipstick and makeup, tight short skirts and high heel shoes.

I just thought she was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen so I kind of patterned my look after that.”

Clearly, it’s worked well for her throughout the decades, and I’d be willing to go out on a limb and say she’s probably one of, if not the, most recognizable celebrities on the planet right now, and easily one of the most beautiful to me.

But growing up so poor out in the country, Dolly had to get really creative with her makeup products, and would actually used burnt matchsticks for eyeliner and berries for lipstick.

Her grandfather, who was a preacher, believed that Satan had possessed Dolly after he saw her bleached hair, and hated that she wore so much makeup.

And her mom wholeheartedly agreed, asking God why she was being tested when her daughter moved to Nashville and started teasing her hair to high Heaven and painting her nails the brightest shade of red she could possibly find:

“The first time my Mama saw me all done up with blonde bleached hair all piled up, and my lips, cheeks and nails as red as I could get them, she screamed to the Lord, ‘Why are you testing me this way?’

And she told me the devil must have made me do it.”

Of course, Dolly, who has never been one to shy away from owning exactly who she is, set her momma straight:

‘Heck no,’ I told Mama. ‘Let’s give credit where it’s due: I did this all myself.’”

I wanna be Dolly Parton when I grow up…

And as unbothered and unfazed as she was, it didn’t stop with her family. She told the Evening Standard that people from her hometown thought she “was a whore,” and got around because of her over-the-top look:

“I was so unusual, people thought I was a whore, too. They thought I screwed everybody coming down the road.

It wasn’t true. I was just a different person, I was my own self. I didn’t want to be like my mother.”

Eventually, her mom did come around, and always had her daughter’s back when it came to defending her character and the kind of person she is on the inside.

Dolly said this about her mom in her 1979 book Dolly on Dolly:

“Oh, it set some tongues to waggin’, all right.

The other women were sayin’, ‘That Avie Lee’ — that’s Momma — ‘her girls is too free for their own good.’

But Momma paid no mind. I owe a lot to her when it comes to independence.”

It’s also a little bit funnier to hear that knowing that Dolly has been married the same man, her husband Carl Dean, for 56 years now.

And for decades, the queen of country music has been laughing at them all the way to the bank, because like she always says, “it costs a lot of money to look this cheap…”

From starting her own foundation, Imagination Library, to all sorts of huge monetary donations to Vanderbilt and beyond, and building the empire that Dollywood has become, she’s as smart and as business savvy as a person can be.

All while dressing and looking exactly how she wants…

Jokes on them, huh?

And let’s be really honest… they were probably all just jealous they didn’t look exactly like Dolly:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock