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Dolly Parton Says She Was ‘Whipped’ By Her Grandfather For The Way She Dressed

Dolly Parton Says She Was ‘Whipped’ By Her Grandfather For The Way She Dressed

[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]

Dolly Parton has never shied away from being her most authentic self, no matter what anyone — even her family members — had to say.

In an interview published with The Guardian on Monday, the 77-year-old singer looked back at her childhood in Tennessee. She noted how she was always so sure of herself from a young age when it came fashion. And it was a style that she got from the “town tramp,” a local woman she admired for her beauty and “flamboyant” fashion. Dolly recalled to the outlet:

“She was flamboyant. She had bright red lipstick, long red fingernails. She had high-heeled shoes, little floating plastic goldfish in the heels of them, short skirts, low-cut tops, and I just thought she was beautiful. When people would say, ‘She ain’t nothing but trash,’ I would always say, ‘Well, that’s what I’m gonna be when I grow up.’”

Related: Why Dolly Parton Turned Down Tea With Princess Catherine!

However, not everyone was a fan of how Dolly dressed. The country music icon revealed her preacher grandfather and dad both hated her fashion choices. They hated it so much that her granddad would even physically punish her over it. Awful. Despite the horrific abuse she faced, she refused to give in and change herself:

“I was willing to pay for it. I’m very sensitive, I didn’t like being disciplined — it hurt my feelings so bad to be scolded or whipped or whatever. But sometimes there’s just that part of you that’s willing, if you want something bad enough, to go for it.”

For Dolly, she was determined to always step outside of the box even as a child. Why? After growing up and watching the women around her get worn down from making a home and having kids, she realized she didn’t want that life for herself:

“My mom and my aunts — I grew up with women knowing how to be good mothers, but that was just not what I felt God had in mind for me. Because somebody’s got to entertain those people, to write songs about them. I can write a song as if I had a house full of kids, I can write a song as if I’ve got a cheating husband, even though I never did. But I know what it’s like; I’ve seen it, been around it. There’s no thing in this world that’s foreign to me, that I don’t get or understand.”

But even when she escaped her town and started her career, the criticisms over her looks didn’t stop. Dolly said record executives asked her to ditch the rhinestones and big blonde hair and instead embraced a more tone-down appearance back then. In fact, many of them thought her whole look was a joke and underestimated her for years! But the Jolene artist once again refused to  dim her light for anyone, explaining that her “look came from a very serious place”:

“That’s how I thought I looked best. Sometimes that’s worked for me, sometimes it can work against you. It took me probably years longer to be taken serious, but I wasn’t willing to change it, and I figured if I had the talent, it’d show up sooner or later.”

And whether people liked her style or not was never something that Dolly even “cared” about since she was simply being “true” to herself:

“I’ve always been true to myself. That was what my mama always used to say: to thine own self be true. I put a lot of stock in that. Everything I do, whether it’s my personality, how I conduct myself and business, or whatever, if I do it my way, according to what I understand and believe, there’s a strength in that. You can think, ‘I can stand by this, I can live by this, but I never cared so much that it keeps me from being me.”

Yes, Dolly!! We love that she never backed down over the years and got rid of her iconic fashion! What do you think about what she had to say, Perezcious readers?

If you have sincere cause to suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to

[Image via MEGA/WENN]

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Oct 11, 2023 14:20pm PDT