Dolly Parton Embraces Hillbilly Heritage
Dolly Parton is one of the most iconic artists of this generation. The songstress, born in the backwoods of East Tennessee as the fourth of 12 children who lived in a one-room home, left home at age 18 for a shot a stardom and never looked back.
But while Parton has enjoyed a long-lasting and lucrative career as a singer, actress and author, she says she never forgets her humble beginnings.
"We were really Hill. Billies," she tells Southern Living magazine. "To me that’s not an insult. We were just mountain people. We were really redneck, roughneck, hillbilly people. And I’m proud of it. 'White trash!'"
The 'Jolene' singer says that it's because of her upbringing that she's been able to have all of her successes.
"I’m proud of my hillbilly, white trash background," she insists. "To me that keeps you humble; that keeps you good. And it doesn’t matter how hard you try to outrun it -- if that’s who you are, that’s who you are. It’ll show up once in a while."
Parton, who says she owns at least 365 wigs, is known almost as much for her appearance, including her short stature, ample bosom and high heels, as her many talents. But while that fact might be upsetting to some celebrities, Parton says she happily embraces it, admitting that she created her look based on her own hometown's trollop.
"That’s the honest truth," Parton concedes. "But it fits my personality too. 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."
An exceedingly confident woman, the 68-year-old proudly admits she's gone under the knife a few times to achieve her youthful looks and says it's nothing to be ashamed of.
"I never would have said I did it if I hadn’t got caught at it," Parton says. "But I wasn’t gonna lie about it! So then after I got caught and I didn’t lie about it, people started asking me [more often]. And I thought, 'Well, you know, what the hell?' After so much time, after you get older, it can help people. I’m not being the poster child for any of that, but people know you do it. If they ask me, I just say 'Yeah, whatever. And I ain’t done yet!'"
Still, what the Country Music Hall of Fame member most wants to be known for is her many abilities, which she says are more the result of hard work than anything else.
"I’ve always believed in my talent," she adds. "And I’ve always had more guts than talent. So I’ve always had to go that extra mile. I’ve always wanted to be a star. I’ve always wanted money and wanted to travel. So I knew there was a price to pay for that. I knew I wasn’t going to be sitting around and somebody come along and say, 'Hey, I've got it all figured out for ya.' I figured I was going to have to work for all that. And I have. But I’ve loved that. I’ve loved the work as much as I’ve loved the success."
Parton's latest album, 'Blue Smoke,' was released earlier this year. Download the record here.