Dolly Parton On Integrity And Building Her Career The Right Way: “I Never Slept With Anybody To Get Ahead… If I Slept With Somebody, It’s ‘Cuz I Wanted To”

Dolly Parton country music
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Just one more reason why I want to be Dolly Parton when I grow up.

Of course, these days, she’s staying incredibly busy working on the release of her very first full-fledged rock album Rockstar, and I’m just amazed at how she continues to stay at the forefront of pop culture after so many decades.

And obviously, a lot of that can be attributed to the way Dolly built her career, from getting her first big break on the Porter Wagoner Show in 1967, to winning Grammy’s and touring all over the world as the Queen of Country music, she’s certainly done it all.

And most importantly, she’s done it with integrity.

In a lengthy interview with Charlie Rose back in June of 2005, he asked Dolly of she’d ever experienced sexism in the music industry along the way, which feels like an obvious question in a way, but her perspective on it is incredibly insightful and brilliant.

Dolly gave one of the best, most honest, answers I’ve ever heard, telling him that she’s always had an understanding of how men think and the way they do business, so she was never going to let them get anything over on her… even if she might’ve looked like that would’ve been an easy thing to do, which she points out herself.

Dolly added that she “never” slept with anybody to get ahead, saying if she ever did, it’s because she simply wanted to and was never to score points or gain an opportunity in her career:

“If I slept with somebody, it’s ‘cuz I wanted to, not because I was doin’ it to make any points with somebody. Never.”

I have to imagine that was even harder back when she was coming up, because it was a different time and she was very clearly a stunning and very talented young woman.

She says she was always thinking a few steps ahead of any man in a suit, and mostly used the “sexism” to her advantage:

“I always used that to my best interest, because I looked like a girl that may be easy. But I was serious about my work, and it didn’t take long.

‘Cuz I grew up with six brothers, my dad, all my uncles, all my boy cousins, so I knew the nature of men. I love men, I love my daddy, I had a great relationship with my dad, and he’s just a good ‘ol redneck guy. I know how they think.

And I always say that I look like a woman but I think like a man, so right when somebody really had me right where they wanted me or thought I would be, like I’ve always said just joking but it’s sort of the truth, I would just have the money and be gone.

I would say, ‘Look, I think I’ve got a lot to offer. I think I can make us both a lot of money. So I’d just go in selling my goods, not myself. Myself was part of the goods, but I never slept with anybody to get ahead.”

Charlie also noted how Dolly has an incredible amount of self awareness, which is one of my favorite things about her, and she had some wonderful advice about that too:

“I think that’s a quality people should have. If you don’t know who you are, you can’t expect somebody to tell you who you are. If you know who you are, you’ve got a good starting point. And I’m from a good family, good people. Country people.

But there was a lot of good stuff in there on both sides of my family, good personalities, depth and tenderness and sensitivity, caring and the talent too. So I just saw that there was so much of that stuff that I needed, and I was very spiritually minded, I believed in God and I believed there was something greater than me that I could look to to draw strength from.

And that has guided me and led me through the years, and it’s kept me strong and it’s kept me from never having ego problems and having false pride.

But I am very aware of who I am and I like myself, I’m the kind of person I can spend a lot of time by myself and enjoy it, cuz I have a lot to think about, a lot to do.”

Dolly Parton for President…

Do yourself a favor and check out their conversation here:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock