Fascinating Facts about Dolly Parton, The Queen of Country

By: Carlos Sanchez | Last updated: Apr 18, 2022

Dolly Parton is a philanthropist, a celebrated country goddess, a humanitarian, and one of the most loved songstresses. She has written over 100 songs where most of which have ranked up on top of musical charts. She has successfully sold over a whopping 100 million of her musical records and won multiple Guinness World Records.

Newspapers, autobiographies, blogs, and many other sources have written much on Dolly Parton’s life. However, even the most avid fan of Dolly Parton may not know these facts about their favorite country goddess. Thus, sit back and enjoy as we highlight some little-known facts about the Queen of Country herself.

Sleeping With Her Makeup On

While many makeup experts will advise against sleeping your makeup on, the fact that Dolly Parton continues to be “dolled up” when she goes to bed defies this fundamental rule of beauty.

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After being asked why she doesn’t remove her makeup before bed in an interview with The New York Times, the singer explained her reasons. “In the mornings, I wash my face with soap and water. Nothing is certain in life; you never know when you’re going to crash the bus or if you’re going to be at a hotel and there’s going to be a fire; nothing is certain in life. So, I wear my makeup at night and wash my face in the morning,” she explains.

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Young Dolly was Innovative With Her Look

While growing up, Dolly Parton couldn’t buy branded cosmetics since her family couldn’t afford them. However, she didn’t give up on her innermost ambition to constantly appear stunning. Her makeup was one-of-a-kind and meticulously improvised.

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Little Dolly Parton created her lipstick out of berries, her eyeliner out of burned matchsticks, and her perfume out of honeysuckle, among other things. What can you say about the resourcefulness of a determined young girl? She always sought out to look her best, and the fact that she did not have much money did not discourage the young lady.

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She Bases Her Looks On a Tramp

Back at her home in Tennessee, a woman was branded the ‘town tramp,’ and people thought she was trashy. Dolly, however, thought she was beautiful, and thus when she grew up, she based her look on the woman’s looks and aesthetic.

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This is one of those facts that most people do not know about her. Dolly has a particular image and style she loves to uphold and who would have thought it was inspired by someone known as the ‘town tramp.’ Regardless, we think she is beautiful in all her looks.

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Miley Cyrus Is Her Goddaughter

Did you know that Dolly is actually Miley Cyrus’ godmother? Dolly Parton told Robin Roberts that Miley Cyrus’ father was her friend. When Miley was born, her father made Dolly her godmother, although unofficially. According to Dolly, she has always been a mentor to Miley Cyrus since day one.

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As a result, it is fair to claim that Miley Cyrus had training from the finest in the music industry. This is most likely the reason why she is also successful in the music business in her own right. Although there was no formal ceremony, Dolly is overjoyed with her goddaughter’s accomplishments. “I’m very proud of her, I adore her, and she’s like one of my own,” Dolly once said.

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Too Young for the First Performance

Is ten years old too young? Well, if you think it is a young age, then it’s not young for Dolly. That’s when she had her first professional performance. Her uncle Billy was her connection to her first job as a superstar. Uncle Billy was among the first people to mentor Dolly in her singing career when she started.

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Uncle Billy introduced her to a man who loved advertising his business on a particular Tennessee radio show. This show would then host Dolly’s first live performance show when she was only ten years old.

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“I Will Always Love You” Was Not a Romantic Tribute

For many years the song has always been a favorite for many people. It has been used by many at romantic events to depict romantic love to their partners. However, most people don’t know that this song was not a romantic tribute but a tribute to another country music star.

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Porter Wagoner was the addressee of the song, which was composed after Dolly and Porter terminated their musical partnership. As a result, the next time you hear the song, you should associate it with Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton.

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Her Hit Single “Jolene” is Related Loosely to a True Story

Because Dolly is such a beauty queen, it is impossible to believe that another woman could lure her husband away from her. Even though Dolly claims that this never occurred, she recounts the story of a redhead teller who had a huge crush on her husband. Despite this, the lady never interfered in Dolly’s relationship with her husband.

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She claims that the song was inspired by an imagined experience of a lady who was terrified that another woman was seducing her husband. She is afraid that the woman will take her husband away from her.

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She Bought Her Childhood Home Years Later

Make mention of souvenirs and put Dolly Parton on the list of individuals who are enthusiastic about them. When she reached the age of majority and was able to make enough money, Dolly Parton ultimately purchased her childhood home in Tennessee.

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Not only did she purchase it, but she also went ahead and modified it to seem more like her old place from when she was a young kid, which she adored. Of course, the renovations cost her millions of dollars, but she had an image in her mind that she wanted to bring to life, and she worked hard to make it a reality. Call it living the past in the present. Yes, it’s that expensive, and only Dolly could do it.

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She Lost Her Look-Alike Contest

Well, at a Dolly Parton look-alike contest in Boulevard, Dolly Parton lost the contest because she overdid it. She stated that she didn’t even come close to winning.

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She revealed all of this to Robin Roberts in 2009. This fact is not only amusing, but who would have thought that the authentic songwriter herself would lose her own look-alike contest.

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Two of Her Best Singles Took Unexpectedly Little Time to Write

If you are a die-hard Dolly Parton fan, you are undoubtedly familiar with the songs “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You.” You are aware that these are among her best-known compositions. What you may not be aware of is that these two songs were written in a single night each.

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You would think that these most loved songs took forever to write; however, it seems, they only took less than 24 hours to compose. Despite this fact, the songs became hits and proof that Dolly is truly a country goddess. This is one of the things that sets her apart from anyone who has ever come even closer to her achievement.

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Honored by Scientists

Surprisingly, the first cloned sheep was called Dolly after the renowned singer who inspired the breed’s development. The explanation for this, on the other hand, is very unusual. Because the cloned sheep was generated from a mammary gland cell, the scientists decided to name it after Dolly Parton because they saw that Dolly had a large bust size, which they thought was appropriate.

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Consequently, this demonstrates the singer’s widespread fame and the fact that she is well-liked across the globe that even scientists choose to honor her. Her bust is not the only reason for this; she is also well-known for her ability to connect with people and appreciate the affection she gets.

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She Employs Many People in Her Old Town

Dolly Parton, in contrast to the majority of other well-known vocalists, acknowledges and cherishes her roots. Dolly has made significant contributions to the improvement of the lives of people in her community.

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When Dolly returned to her hometown, she hired a large number of people, including those working for her Dollywood project. Dollywood Park employs a large number of individuals from her hometown as well as the surrounding areas. When it comes to fulfilling goals, she has been motivated to assist the people of her community ever since she left home when she was 18 years old.

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She Came From a Large Family

Dolly was born the fourth child to her parents Avie and Lee. By the time they were in their mid to late thirties they had 12 children in total. Dolly makes no secret that her and her family grew up poor. 

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Dolly decided against having children of her own. Having had eight younger siblings born after her, it might be safe to assume that she felt that she already had helped raise children and was fine without having to take care of anyone else anymore, though it is best not to assume anyone’s child-rearing realites. 

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Dolly was the Most Educated in Her Family

Dolly became the first member of her family to graduate from high school. If this wasn’t a major feat in and of itself, she graduated and then boarded a bus to Music City.

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In true Dolly fashion, she showed her grit in all different directions. She ensured that she had some form of education before going off and pursuing her music career. Thankfully for all of us, she made the right choices for herself.

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Extreme Humble Beginning

If you’re talking about superstars who came from modest origins, don’t forget to include Dolly Parton. She was born into severe poverty; her family did not have access to electricity or running water. Her father was unable to pay the doctor who tended to her mother during her delivery since he could not afford it.

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But even the dad was a resilient and resourceful man. Dolly’s father could not afford to pay the doctor in cash, but he made sure his bag of oatmeal counted as compensation. Perhaps that is why Dolly is a passionate philanthropist. Maybe that is why she moves around the world trying to make other’s lives better. She understands what it means not to have and what it means to receive help when you most need it.

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She Wasn’t Everyone’s Cup of Tea

Dolly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but she was Monument Record’s glass of whisky! Almost every major record company on Music Row turned away aspiring Dolly Parton. That was until she was welcomed with open arms by Monument Records.

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Eventually, the budding and successful songstress left Monument Records for RCA.

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She Gets up at 3:00 AM

Not many people are very busy at this time of day, but Dolly considers the hours of 3–7 AM to be her most active. Her further statement is that she considers this to be the most peaceful time of the day, which allows her to be more productive than at any other time of the day.

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According to her, she has a lot of things to accomplish throughout the day. Waking up this early allows her to complete the majority of her tasks before the day ends. If you think celebrities don’t work hard, Dolly is a perfect example to demystify that belief. But in most cases, she might be the only unique one.

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Dolly, the Playmate

As usual Dolly Parton led another trail, blazing right on through. Dolly became the first country singer to ever grace the cover of the suggestive magazine, Playboy. Dolly posed for the magazine in 1978.

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Then, in 2021, Dolly recreated her iconic Playboy appearance for her husband. Dolly dressed up as a Playboy bunny and presented him with a framed throwback to her initial cover feature.

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Her First Song Was Inspired By Her Unusual Doll

Dolly started singing when she was only a little girl, and surprisingly her first song was inspired by her unusual doll. However, she was so young that her mother had to transcribe the song for her. This shows that your favorite songstress did not just start singing, but singing and songwriting too at a very young age.

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So what’s the deal with the doll? As previously stated, Dolly was born into a household that was so impoverished that her parents were unable to provide her with quality dolls. Rather than spending money on a doll, she decided to have a doll made out of corn cobs, which she really adored.

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She Loves The Girls Scout

You may think that Dolly was once a girl scout, but she was not. So why does she adore the Girl Scout organization? Well, she has a special connection to them.The girls can earn a badge known as “Coat of Many Colors.” You may already know that the phrase is named after her famous 1971 single of the same name.

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Image: Facebook/Girl Scout Museum at Daisy’s Place, Knoxville TN

The Coat of Many Colors award is presented to people concerned about the less fortunate and looking for methods to make their lives a little better. The badge was developed in collaboration with the Southern Appalachian Girl Scouts and the Southern Appalachian Star.

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A Family Cow Saved Her Once

When she was a young child, her fascination with butterflies led her astray from her family, and a cow saved her life by pulling her back home. Dolly had followed the tiny bug a long distance away from her house and became lost, which made her very upset.

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The surprising thing is that the cow that rescues her is still known. Yes, her name is Bessie, and she came to Dolly’s rescue. Probably not alive now, but she played an important role in Dolly’s life. She held onto the cow’s collar, and the cow dragged her to her home back in Tennessee. The incident, however, did not affect her love towards the colored animals; she still loves butterflies.

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She Does Not Regret That She Never Had Children of Her Own

This would be a great bother to many couples, but surprisingly she does not regret not having children with her husband. She does not let this fact affect her negatively like it would with other women.

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Instead, Dolly says that she considers other people’s children as her own too. She also says she was always close to her nieces and nephews, and she was fulfilled to be close to them while they were growing up. However, she also adds that she is convinced that God never intended for her to have children.

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She Helped with Vaccine Research

Dolly donated to Vanderbilt to help researchers find a cure for the COVID-19 virus that took the world by storm. Dolly donated $1 million, which ultimately did lead to the discovery of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

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According to Dolly, “When I donated the money to the Covid fund, I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon.”

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Her Research Donation Led to a Song Rewrite

Life inspires art, art inspires life, and in a loop we go! Dolly’s contributions towards the COVID-10 research funding led a fan to rewrite one of Dolly’s most famous songs, Jolene.

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A Northeastern professor named Ryan Cordell went viral (no pun intended) for writing a Jolene parody called Vaccine.

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She Has Tattoos Covering Her Scars

Most of Dolly’s fans can swear to her not having any tattoos because she never openly flaunts them. Her tattoos, however, are for covering up her scars, and she surprisingly has several of them.

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While most celebrities are eager to show off their art collections, Dolly has said that she doesn’t like showing them off and doesn’t make a big issue about them. This comes as a surprise to many of her admirers.

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Her Beloved Father Could Not Read

There is no clear reason why her father didn’t have proper education, but lack of adequate education meant that her father could not read. According to Dolly, her father was greatly bothered by this fact, and he was often embarrassed that he could not read.

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However, Dolly always assured him that he was still a great person and that there were other people out there like him. Because of this, the star is fiercely focused on ensuring that children get properly educated.

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She Values Spirituality

Spirituality may not be a big issue to many famous musicians, but it is a big deal to Dolly Parton. According to her, she wakes up early in the morning and thanks God for the day ahead.

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For instance, in her hit single, she mentions a story in the bible that she knows well. This directly points to the fact that she grew up in a spiritual home and perhaps the reason why she never got rid of the spiritual aspect of her life.

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She First Saw A Flushing Toilet and a TV When She was Eight

As a child, you wouldn’t think that having a flushing toilet or television set is such a big deal. Well, you might have had all of these when you were young, but Dolly did not. As we mentioned before, little Dolly had no access to power and piped water at her home.

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Her aunty, however, had both of these, and she first saw them when she was eight years old. She admits that she was always afraid of using the flushing toilet because she thought that the toilet could suck them up.

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She Has Her Favorite Book

Dolly loves reading, and that is why she advocates reading to others. For someone who is into reading a lot, then she must have a favorite book. In 2014, Dolly Parton told Southern Living Magazine that her favorite book is “The Little Engine That Could.”

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Image: YouTube/Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

She further states that it is quite an inspiring book to her and that the book summarizes her life as a person of determination. It also happens to be her first book in her reading program.

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She Once Pulled Out a Gun on Someone

She admitted to having pulled out a gun and threatened a man who had attacked her. She was only 19 at that time, and she was walking in a not-so-safe area. A man showed up and started to harass her.

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In response, she pulled out a gun and pointed it out to the man threatening that she would shoot him if he continued to harass her. This incident later inspired a scene in her movie known as 9 to 5.

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She Adores Adele

In an interview, the star said that everyone loves Adele and even her nephews and nieces always talk about Adele. Also, in her song “Head Over High Heels”, she mentions that she would paint her eyes like Adele’s.

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At one point, when asked who she would put as a legend at Glastonbury, she did not hesitate to say, Adele. This is a clear indication that she loves and adores Adele even though she has not yet confirmed it.

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Some People Thought Dollywood Would Be a Failure

It is common for celebrities to have people who do not support them, and Dolly Parton is not spared. Some people thought that the theme park project would not work, but it did. In 2010, Dollywood celebrated 25 years, and in the event, Dolly highlighted how some people thought that the initiative would be a failure.

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She, however, brushed off the comment with a funny comment showing that she wasn’t bothered about the negative input of others in her affairs. She proved that it would work and her theme park is still popular today.

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She Loves White

You have probably seen her in white many times. What did you think about it? Well, your guess was correct; she loves to be in white colors. She added that she loves to perform in white because it makes her feel all airy and light.

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Well, she seems to enjoy bright colors, with white being on top of her list. Ultimately, it’s a good favorite color for Dolly to have since white does look great on her, and it seems like she knows it.

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Potatoes are Her Favorite

Dolly might be strict on her diet, but she admits that potatoes have affected her diet. She says that if she has ever fallen off a diet, it was because of potatoes. She loves potatoes in any form, whether french fries, mashed, or baked.

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Since she loves the delicious starch so much, she also is quite good at cooking them for herself. She once stated, “I never met a spud I didn’t like.” And we’re sure a bunch of you can agree with that statement too.

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She Slept in The Same Bed With Her Siblings

Dolly Parton had shared some of the messy details of her life with Lawrence Grobel in 1978. One example of her messy life was the fact that she slept with her three or four siblings on the same bed.

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She admits that some of the younger siblings had ‘accidents’ at night, and according to her, she jokingly added that those were among the warm moments they knew in winter. Such humble beginnings from her early childhood when she lived in poverty.

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Her Friends Laughed at Her When She Said She Was Going To Be A Star

In 2020 when she spoke to USA Today, Dolly remembered an incident in high school during graduation when she said she was going to Nashville to be a superstar. She was serious about her dreams, and in her mind, that was precisely what she was going to do in Nashville.

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However, her peers thought it to be a joke, and they laughed out loud. She was greatly embarrassed, but that did not deter her from chasing her dreams and becoming the star she had always wanted to be.

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She Never Google About Herself

You would think that because the country goddess is famous, she would be googling all day to know what is out there about her. Well, according to her, she already knows what she is always up to and sees no need to Google herself.

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She jokingly adds that if she did not know, she would just pick up the National Enquirer Magazine. Talk about a carefree life!

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She Loves Her Hillbilly Nickname

Contrary to what most people would think, Dolly considers her hillbilly nickname a compliment rather than an insult.

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She says that she knows that they were mountain people, and being called a hillbilly is a compliment to her. She is unapologetically herself and we love that about this Country Queen.

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She Never Uses Her Husband's Name in Public

Dolly Parton is her famous name, but the name on her passport is Dolly Parton Dean from her husband’s name Carl Dean. Many of her fans think that she never uses this name, while in the real sense, she uses the name in private.

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Dolly Parton’s name would have been Dolly Dean if she had directly taken up her husband’s last name. However, the singer decided to stick with Dolly Parton for the public.

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“I'm 16” Was an Inspiration From Her Sister

According to Dolly, when her sister was 16, she seemed to make all the wrong romantic choices. Later, when her sister was 60, she found someone she fell head over heels in love with.

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Her sister was so giddy and in love in her new relationship, Dolly jokingly said that it was as if she was 16 all over again. She used that feeling of being young and in love as inspiration for her song, “I’m 16.”

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She's Fond Of High Heel Shoes

Dolly stands at 5 feet tall, which is why it makes sense that she loves high-heeled shoes. She states that she wears higher ones when she is performing.

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She also adds that wearing high heels makes her feel like herself. There’s a certain level of confidence in rocking stylish high heels and getting a bit of a height boost. She also says wearing high heels at home helps her to reach her cabinets.

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She's Never Cared About Comments on Her Bust Size

She endlessly hears many comments about her bust size, but she is not bothered about what people think about it. She enjoys her looks and doesn’t care about other people’s input.

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Dolly thinks that people who have a problem with her bust size are not her problem to deal with. She also feels that it’s their problem and not hers.

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She Gets Her Business Traits From Her Father

Dolly has so much love and respect for the man who raised her. She talks all good about him, and she also adds that she gets her business traits from her father.

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She states that her father was not educated, but he had ‘horse sense,’ a phrase used by country people to describe people who knew their way around the business.

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She Loves Being A Songwriter

In her 2020 book, Dolly describes herself not as a country goddess but as a songwriter. In her book, she evidently loves songwriting above all else.

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She states that she would love to just sit at her home and write songs all of her life. This goes to show exactly where her passion and priorities lie. And an excellent songwriter she is.

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She Does Not Ride Anything in Her Theme Park

She may have her own theme park, but you will never see her riding on anything. When asked why she did not ride anything, she answered that she gets motion sickness on such things.

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Image: YouTube/Dollywood Parks & Resorts

Naturally, she jokes that she has too much at stake as she would hate to lose her hair or her shoes if she ever tried to ride anything. The fact that she hates becoming messed up makes sense why she can’t ride anything in the park.

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Dolly's Wigs are Unique and Still Trending

Dolly adores wigs to the point that she has one for every day of the year in her collection. There are three wigs in her collection, however, that she believes to be her favorites out of the whole bunch. The first wig she mentioned was one she wore on the cover of an old Porter Wagoner duet record called “We Found It” in 1973.

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In the 90s, Revlon produced wigs with inspiration from Dolly Parton’s hair. Their sales shot up in a short time because Dolly Parton’s wigs were in high demand. Up to date, you can still shop for these wigs online today.

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She Has a Secret Song

Apparently, Dolly has a secret song that is locked away at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort that will not be released until the year 2045. The song is called It’s Burning Me Up Inside. The creative marketing strategy was apparently difficult for Dolly.

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She said “ That’s like burying one of my kids, putting it on ice or something, and I won’t be around to see it brought back to life.”

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She Raised Money for Middle Tennessee

Middle Tennessee was hit with catastrophic flooding after a historic amount of rainfall fell upon Humphreys County. 20 people were killed and hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.

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That is where Miss Dolly Parton stepped in. The country queen and her businesses raised around $700,000 for the victims affected in the flooding. 

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Dolly is an EGOT

An EGOT is someone that is a part of an elite group that has received at least one nomination from all four major American award organizations. The award organizations are: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.

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It is a very small group of people who can say that they are a part of the EGOT group. But are we surprised that Dolly is a part of it? Not really.

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She Won the Living Legend Award

The Living Legend Award is given to people who have made significant impacts and contributions towards America’s cultural, scientific and social fabric. In 2004, the Library of Congress awarded Dolly Parton with just that!

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Little did they know, nearly two decades later Dolly would still be making huge contributions towards culture and society in all ways listed. She truly deserves the recognition, as she is a Living Legend. 

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