Country

Dolly Parton: 'There ain't much real about me but my heart'

Why Dolly Parton is going on her first North American tour in a quarter century

 

After more than a half-century in show business, Dolly Parton hasn’t changed a bit.

“I’m most comfortable in high heels and wigs and makeup and gaudy clothes,” Parton told Page Six at an appearance celebrating the 31st year of Dollywood, her amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. “Same as always!”

At age 70, the country music legend is hitting the road this summer on her first major tour in 25 years. She also recently launched a new dinner theater show and family resort in the Smoky Mountains, and has an album slated for release in August.

“I’m having such a good time and the fans seem to be enjoying me,” she continued. “So I’m going to ride that wave until I get washed ashore.”

Parton’s larger-than-life persona has become part of her brand and she embraces the attention her iconic image has garnered from fans over the years.

“I’d feel like a fool if I went [incognito] somewhere and I looked awful and they recognized me anyhow,” she said. “I’d rather they just say, ‘Oh, I saw Dolly Parton today,’ than just say, ‘Lord, did you see Dolly Parton? She looked like hell.’ That would be the worse thing for someone like me – a big painted-up plastic doll.”

The “9 to 5” actress has famously quipped, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap,” but achieving that look isn’t always labor-intensive.

“I’ve timed it and I can be completely good and ready in 20 minutes,” she dished. “But I like to have an hour if I can.”

Although Parton enjoys being casual in the privacy of her home, the powerhouse draws from an impressive collection of hair-dos for stepping out in public.

“I don’t count them, but I say I must have at least 365 wigs because I usually wear a different one every day,” she admitted. “But if I’m just at home, I don’t wear wigs. I keep my own hair and I keep my roots done – my own hair is the same [blond] color [as the wigs].”

But regardless of her over-the-top appearance, the “Jolene” songstress knows that true beauty is only skin-deep.

“I’m the biggest phony-looking person in the world and I know that, but this is how I feel comfortable,” she explained. “I think everybody should look and be whatever makes them comfortable so their inner self — their God Light — can shine. To me, I know I look totally phony, but I’m really not.”

The buxom Tennessee native has famously admitted to being nipped and tucked over the years, but her giving spirit and charitable contributions to causes including literacy efforts and wildlife conservation overshadow even her most ample physical assets.

“There ain’t much real about me but my heart,” said Parton. “I just feel sorry when I see people that don’t know how to even be who they are or they are trying to be something they’re not. I don’t think you should ever be ashamed no matter who or what you are, you should be proud of who you are.”

This article originally appeared in the New York Post's Page Six.

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