The Covid-19 shutdown has done little to slow down Dolly Parton’s agitation. During the lockdown, the country music star released a Christmas album; a Netflix holiday musical; a 35-hour box set and 19 DVDs of various career highlights; Singer, a book collecting his lyrics and detailing his career as a songwriter; a cooking line for Williams Sonoma; and a signature ice cream (strawberry pretzel pie) with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Not only that, Parton, 75, released videos of herself reading children’s bedtime stories, won her second consecutive Grammy for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance / Song, topped 150 million of books donated to Imagination Library (its program that provides books to children) $ 1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to help fund research into Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. When Parton took Moderna’s photo in March, she posted a photo on her social media with the caption: “Dolly is getting a dose of her own medicine.”
Parton’s penchant for activity, even during a pandemic, is, she explains, part of her nature. “It’s a way of life for me,” she says. And while her star power has never wavered – she’s one of the five most attractive female celebrities in the United States according to her Q Score, a common marketing metric – she has, over the past few years, become expanded through social media, reaching younger generations. who might not have known his music otherwise. At a time when Americans find themselves in a state of continual disagreement, Parton retains an innate ability to bridge the gaps between seemingly disparate communities.
Parton’s style is also unmistakable. Her signature look embodies exaggerated femininity. In July, she will enter the beauty business, launching a fragrance called Scent From Above and, later, a line of makeup and wigs. “I’ve always been intrigued by makeup and perfume, everything that makes girls girly,” she says. In an interview with Andy Warhol in 1984, Parton said of his conduct: “I’m still not the star I’m going to be.”
I heard you were an early riser. At what time do we speak?
I’m usually up around 3 a.m. I love the wee hours. I actually go to bed early. I go by the old saying, “Early to bed, early to get up.” But even when I’m working late on shows and concerts, I can get up early. I just don’t need a lot of sleep! Five or six hours, and I can motivate if I need it over three hours. I pray every day that God will put all the good things, all the good people in my life, and take all the bad things, all the bad people, and guide me. Then I figure out what I want to wear and what I want to accomplish… and I have my cup of ambition.
What do you eat for breakfast with this mug of ambition?
Well it depends. I usually try to keep a homemade egg salad because I like to have something quick and easy. During the week I will eat things like an egg salad on toast with tomato, and sometimes I will have a bagel with cream cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes. If I’m working out, I’ll be on a low-carb diet during the week, then eat whatever I want on the weekends. I just watch moderation for the most part…. I tend to gain weight because I am so small and because I have a farmer’s daughter appetite.
Do you have a regular morning beauty routine?
I do all of my beauty work and wash my face in the morning because I usually try to keep my makeup on at night. Because I never know if there’s going to be an earthquake or a tornado or a storm and I’m going to have to go out in the middle of the night! I don’t like to come home and collapse completely, because my poor husband has to watch me. And in the morning, when I wake up, I do it all over again, put on makeup and touch up throughout the day. I use a lot of Maybelline products and have used Max Factor’s Panstik makeup throughout my years of age; I have to order it from different places because I can’t find it anymore. If I go out at night I’ll just add a little more shadow, a little more glitter, a redder or brighter lipstick. I’m so used to doing makeup and doing my own hair that I can do it really quickly.
Have you, like many of us, kissed the sweatpants in confinement?
I don’t wear sweatpants. But I like to be comfortable like everyone else. I have my little household clothes, like a little dress-type teddy, a long teddy, then I have a little jacket or a shirt to match if I’m cold. I call them my baby clothes because they are soft like a baby. But I don’t wear sweat clothes.
What were your first touchstones for beauty and style?
I’m in awe of anyone with a sense of glamor and style, but first of all, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin. My own exaggerated gaze came from a serious place I have spoken of many times: the city bum in our little country hometown. They called her trash, but to me she was absolutely gorgeous. She wore colorful patchwork skirts and cute blouses and showed off a small cleavage and had red nails and stacked blonde hair and red lipstick and high heels. It was the prettiest thing I have ever seen. When everyone said, “Oh, it’s just a garbage can,” I said, “Well, the garbage is what I’m going to become. And I guess my look is glamorous trash!
And now you bring this sensitivity to scent?
People have always liked my smell. I’ve had people literally following me down the street asking, “What are you wearing? I need to know what you’re wearing! I have always loved a fragrance called White Linen, which [
] do again, and I use a musk bath oil. I just like a clean, sweet smell. In fact, I’ve always worn a combination of scents, a few scents mixed with bath oils and lotions. And it gave me the idea that [for my own fragrance]I need to combine my other scents. The people… who developed the scent for us checked all the ingredients for what I liked. It took us a long time to find the exact scent that I was really happy with.
You don’t like sweat clothes, but are you someone who exercises?
I create my own rejoicing exercises! I grew up in the Pentecostal church where we used to scream and jump a lot. I run my engine in the morning when I cry out all over the house praising the Lord. It gave me the idea to create easy exercises, and I make music to go with it. Something even people in wheelchairs or the elderly or sick can do. I thought I could create something joyful, where you were doing something for a reason rather than for yourself. But that’s the extent of my exercise. I don’t really like going to the gym… and I’m especially concerned with who I’m sweating with.
You once said that you have a wig for every day of the year.
I have a wig for every occasion! I always make a joke – but it’s really not a joke – that I never have a bad day with the hair. Cheryl Riddle is my hairdresser, and she gives me a wide variety of different wigs… but I don’t usually wear wigs when I’m at home. I keep my own hair the same color and a little longer than shoulder length, just up to the top of my breasts…. That way, I can just wind it up with a little scrunchie. I was born blonde and couldn’t wait to be more blonde. I started buying peroxide as soon as I could afford it! I’m just a blonde. It’s just my nature. It’s me.
Besides your scent, what is it that takes up your time these days?
I have a lot of projects I’m working on. We have the opening for Dollywood, and I’m still working on music and writing something. I’ve been very lucky recently with some of the most inspiring songs. “When Life Is Good Again” is about the pandemic, and I wrote one called “I Still Believe”, and I just won a Grammy with Zach Williams for a song called “There Was Jesus”. I think people need uplifting things right now.
We could all use a little elevation right now. What were your takeaways after a very difficult year?
I think we have been kept in the light. I know I learned a lot about myself, and doing things to help others has helped me too. Because you know the old saying, “By teaching I am educated. By making others try to feel good and lift them up, it uplifted me. Doing something to make someone else feel good, in turn, makes me feel good. It really brought me a lot of comfort…. Focusing on what I can do to help someone makes me realize who I am as a human being. I also learned a lot about patience, tolerance, understanding. I think a lot of people have done it. We showed our true colors during this time.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
5 Monday essentials
Cold pond cream
I still tend to like a lot of old beauty products because I am an old one too. I will use cold cream to clean my face in the morning.
Most of the music in my house is music that I create on my own. I must have my little Martin guitar somewhere handy because I write songs all the time.
Yellow Notepads and Sharpies
I write something almost every day. I still use those big old yellow notepads and love the Sharpie pens; I have boxes of them.
I don’t think you have to pay tons of money for good makeup.
I use Folgers for my cup of ambition. I like cream a lot, so it’s just a little more than a tan. A cup and a half will be enough for me all day.
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