Dolly Parton reveals people tried to change her look over the years—'I'm not a natural beauty'

Opening up on the criticisms she's faced, Dolly Parton talks about how people tried to change her look

Dolly Parton shared her secret to success recently
(Image credit: Gary Miller/WireImage)

Dolly Parton recently made clear that, no matter how famous, she has had to contend with harsh criticisms throughout her career, a major part of it directed at her look.

Dolly, who recently declined a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination, discussed a variety of topics while on the Work Life with Adam Grant podcast, starting with other folks' opinions on how she dressed and presented herself in public.

"People wanted me to change, they thought I looked cheap," she said. "The main advice that people wanted to give me was to change my look and to go simpler with my hair and the way that I dress. Not to look so cheap, nobody was ever going to take me seriously, they would say."

The star also mentioned that she modeled her look after the "town tramp," finding the aesthetic glamorous.

Dolly Parton attends MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton at Los Angeles Convention Center

(Image credit: Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty)

Needless to say, if her popularity and her youthful skin at 76 are of any indication, Dolly clearly knows what she's doing and has learned to face bashful comments following six decades in the spotlight. 

"When I get bad reviews [...] I [think] they must have had some reason to write that. There must be some truth in it," she said. "Surely, nobody would just be cruel [and] mean enough to just say something [hurtful]. I try to look at it deeply and think, well, they probably got a point. And I'll just try to look at that and try to change it, and make improvements for next time."

While on the podcast, Dolly also noted that part of life involves making mistakes and that it's important to learn from each one. 

"If you make a mistake, it's best that you pick it up and turn it into something positive," she said. "Sometimes the best part of my show is when I mess up and people know I'm human. They see how you're gonna get out of it and you're right there in the spotlight. You have to deal with it. Same with life. I don't punish myself for [making mistakes]."

Clearly, Dolly's life lessons have taken her a long way. In addition to releasing new music and doing her part to ease the destructive effects of climate change, the artist has recently published a novel called Run, Rose, Run to much fanfare. She co-wrote the book with renowned author James Patterson.

Anna Rahmanan

Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.