The world does not deserve the wonder that is Dolly Parton. The country music star, who grew up in the Smoky Mountains, is legendary in every way possible, whether it’s her music, her charity, or her style. Parton’s style is as instantly recognizable as her voice — and part of the style is her wigs, which know no bounds in terms of height or tussle. They’ve always sort of blended in with her looks, but it turns out there is a very good reason that Dolly Parton wears wigs instead of rocking her own hair.
In her 2020 book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, the entertainer reminisced about all of her looks over the years and wrote that it wasn’t until she appeared with Porter Wagoner on his show in the late ’60s that she started to settle in to her signature style — which she revealed was inspired by Frederick’s of Hollywood models she had admired as a teenager growing up in poverty. “I wanted to feel like the way I thought all the movie stars in Hollywood did,” she penned, according to Today. And part of that, she wrote, meant wearing her “high heels and [her] hair” as high as she could get it. But there’s a more practical reason for the wigs.
Wigs are an essential part of Dolly Parton's signature look
Dolly Parton’s natural hair isn’t something she has to hide, of course. In older pictures she shared in her book, you can see that she has a lot of natural hair to work with. “I always wore my hair all teased up. Whenever that style started, I was the first to get my hair all poofy,” she wrote in Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, according to Do You Remember. She added that with success came more money to spend on her style and beauty routines. “Then as soon as I could buy those hairpieces and wigs, I wanted them. For one thing, they were so handy. Plus, my hair would never do exactly what I wanted it to do. So the wigs became kind of my trademark,” Parton shared.
She added that she likes to do her own hair and makeup, even way back when she was just starting out on The Porter Wagoner Show. “We had makeup girls. They would do their basics, and then I would add on to that. I was always into makeup, but I never could stand anybody else’s version of me,” Dolly added (via Today). If you were Dolly Parton, why would you change anything at all?
Dolly Parton doesn't have time to be old
Actually, not changing at all is part of Dolly Parton’s aging. She told Oprah Winfrey, via People, that she “doesn’t have time to be old” and isn’t afraid of ending up like the Gabor sisters, the socialites who all lived well into old age, with Zsa Zsa dying at the age of 99 years old. But Parton doesn’t want to look old and she isn’t ashamed to admit it, either.
Per People, she said: “I’m gonna look like a cartoon. I’ll have on the makeup. I’ll look as young as my plastic surgeons will allow me and [with] all the makeup and lighting and all that. But I think more than anything, it’s about what comes from inside you.” She added, “It’s an attitude and you gotta shine from within. Sometimes, that can make you feel young and make you seem young to other people.” That, and a great wig and some plastic surgery, of course.
Dolly Parton's philanthropy knows no bounds
Dolly Parton might not have time to be old, but she does have time to spread her good energy (and her money) around. Just before the release of her book in November 2020, it was revealed that Parton had donated $1 million for COVID-19 research and essentially helped fund vaccine research.
“I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world,” she told BBC One’s The One Show. “I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic,” she said, upon learning the news, via CNN. Parton’s philanthropy is also part of what makes her such a pop culture icon. Through the Dollywood Foundation, she’s helped children’s literacy efforts, HIV/AIDS charities, and animal rights and environmental preservation, per The Boot.
Through her charity, her music, and her inimitable style, Dolly Parton has given her fans so much, including all the practical reasons to just throw a wig on when you can’t get your hair to do what you want it to.
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