| USA TODAY
Women of the Century: Dolly Parton loves people, and they love her back
Dolly Parton is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of our age, but she’s as well-known for her philanthropy as she is for her creativity.
Every word out of Dolly Parton‘s mouth is gold.
The country music singer-songwriter celebrates her 75th birthday Tuesday. After decades of performing, she has become known as much for her witty remarks and thoughtful outlook on life as her iconic songs.
We’re looking back on her career through interviews she has given to USA TODAY and The Nashville Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network, by gathering some of her most notable quotes:
On having big dreams growing up in a small town: “I imagined it, I dreamed it, I worked for it, and God was good enough to let me have it.”
On her iconic look: “The whole magic about me is that I look artificial but I’m totally real. People can see that. They forgive me for being gaudy. They forgive me for not being stylish. They forgive me for not being as smart as some educated people might be. People see me. I want them to know me. I’m not bashful.”
On performing: “I love the fans. I love that energy. It just really is restoring. You know when you’re first in love, how it energizes you? I get that from the fans. That’s a great empowering, restoring kind of energy. I think entertainers are addicted to that feeling. It’s … just knowing that you can do something to change somebody’s life or make somebody happy, even if it’s just for an evening.”
On her classmates laughing at her big dreams to be a music star: “You can’t dream at someone else’s expense. You’ve got to get out there, make those dreams come true. You’ve got to be the one to sacrifice what you need, to lean on who all will help you. You’ve got to get out there and put legs on them, wings on them, feet on them, hands on them, fingers. You’ve got to get out there and work it.”
On the secret to her success: “We grew up knowing Jesus loved us and through God all things are possible, so I’ve carried that all the way through my life and gathered a lot of strength from that as well. I just always felt like I knew who I was, and I just try to stay anchored within myself and my beliefs.”
On gaining a newer generation of fans: “I’m so happy to be an inspiration to women and to young girls because I did it back in a time when it was even harder. I kind of understand men, and I was never intimidated by them. I’m just redneck enough that if things ain’t exactly how I want them to be, I’ll find a way to get it that way. I always say I can tell you where to put it if I don’t like where you got it, and I’m kind of like that.”
On facing adversity: “You cannot live in this world and be successful and not have heartaches, troubles, disappointments. It’s how you deal with it. I’ve had a lot of dreams, and most of them have come true, but a lot of them have not.”
On changes she would like to see in the world: “If we could just be peaceful, if we could just try to work through things with a little more peace, a little more love, a little more harmony, a little more understanding. I pray about it every day.”
On her unwavering good mood: “People say, ‘You always look so happy.’ I say, ‘That’s because of the Botox.’”
On what drove her to create new things during the coronavirus quarantine: “Even with as bad as things have been during the COVID, I’ve been very productive. I feel like I’m doing things to try to uplift people. (Doing) things to bring a little light into the darkness. That’s kind of my purpose in life. Hopefully, I’m getting it done.”
On her inspiration as a storyteller: “When I was back home and we didn’t get to go to the movies or have stories, I would perform them and, really, it was like my family was gettin’ to go to the movies. I would sing these songs, and I would create all these stories and pictures in my songs.”
On how long she’ll continue to perform: “As long as I feel good. I had a little problem last year (in 2015) … got stumped up with kidney stones, but it didn’t slow me down. I was even working on the phone every day getting that TV movie together, even when I was in the hospital for a week or so. I’m amazed at this point of all the interest in my life. I’m never going to retire. I just want to do greater work. As mom would say, I’m letting the spirit lead me.”
On advice for people who feel hopeless right now: “You just have to pray, if you’re a faith-based person, for strength. If not, you just have to keep your wits about you and lean on your higher wisdom to know that things happen, and most things we get through, and usually, we come out better on the other side.”