Value Discovery with Dolly Parton


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I’m not especially a Dolly Parton fan. I do remember her from the movies “Nine to Five” (1980) and “Steel Magnolias” (1989) and a few songs such as, “Nine to Five” and “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers from 1982. I know I’m showing my age here!

I am a tad fascinated how, at age 65, she has remained looking almost the same for the past 30 years. Plastic surgery, makeup and wigs have obviously helped. The only other 1980s celebrity I can think of who doesn’t appear to have aged much (naturally or otherwise) is Morgan Fairchild, who is also in her 60s.

There are two specific things that I do admire about her. Firstly, she’s been married for 45 years. On that, she said in an article last year, “We’re really proud of our marriage. It’s the first for both of us. And the last.” In this day and age, that’s an amazing feat!

Secondly she’s intelligent and witty.

“I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb…..

and I also know that I’m not blonde.” – Dolly Parton

{Source: I Am Woman: A Collection of Modern Thoughts and Quotations by Alicat Publishing Staff, 2010}

Dolly’s quote shows a person very self-aware and comfortable in her skin, no matter what other people think or say about how she looks or portrays herself. I know I’ve grown more that way as I’ve gotten older but I’ve still some way to go to not pressure to fit in, be influenced by or please others. With values on my mind these past few days, her quote also helped reveal the fact that I don’t value external beauty as much as I value intelligence and wittiness; inner qualities of character and personality.

I’m participating in the 52 Weeks to Simplify Your Life hosted by Deb from Home Life Simplified and last week’s task was to uncover our core values. I’m a week behind and still exploring and refining my core value list. I’m trying to refrain from reading everyone else’s posts on today’s linky and dig deep to identify my values without undue influence from other sources. This process is about me and my life, not how I measure up to anyone else or what’s popular. Hmmmm, I wonder if I she sells bottles of “Dolly Self-awareness and Self-Confidence” amongst her paraphernalia?

Have you ever found wisdom in unexpected places?

Related Posts

Simplify your life {SYL: Week 1} – Positives in 2011


I’m linking with Jess from Diary of a SAHM for IBOT.

I Blog on Tuesdays


34 thoughts on “Value Discovery with Dolly Parton

  1. I love hearing the stories of marriages that stand the test of time, particularly in Hollywood where it is so rare.
    Hugh Jackman and his wife are another couple I admire for that.

    It’s nice to see she is comfortable in herself, and yet at the same time, all the plastic surgery seems to suggest otherwise. I guess all of us have our weak areas though. Would love to meet her in person and see what she is really like.

    • I know what you mean about the plastic surgery, Jess. It does seem contradictory to Dolly’s comment but I got the sense that the external stuff for her is an image she’s portraying rather than a way to keep up with the latest fads and fashions. After all, she’s looked almost the same for so many decades. At least this seems to gel with comments from others who have read her biography

  2. Lol – not dumb, and not blonde! I think it is so great that she has been married 45 years. In Hollywood terms (or in any terms really), that is an amazing achievement – certainly something to aspire to.

    • Julie, there’s an article I came across about her marriage “secrets” ( and she said:

      “We’re good friends first of all, and we knew each other before I got to be a star, so it’s not like one of those where I have to worry that he loves me for some other reason than what we loved each other for [initially],” she explained. “He’s very kind, very understanding, crazy, funny, witty. He’s a homebody…I have my freedom. He likes to stay at home and he doesn’t want me in his face all the time and I don’t want to be in it, so it works good!” Adding, “We’re very different and they say opposites attract…we respect each other’s space and we like each other a lot.”

  3. Great post! I have always respected Dolly Parton (who stays so successful, but so tasteful – I’m not talking about clothes, but about demeanour) but possibly wouldn’t have looked at her for inspiration or a reflection of core values!
    I LOVE that quote – so self assured! I’ve gotta get me some Dolly Parton bottled essence!

  4. I know people like to roll their eyes at Dolly and think all she is is big boobs and ditz, but she’s an amazing lady. She could teach the modern day hollywood girls a thing or a million.

  5. What a great quote. Dolly’s always been intriguing to me. The hair, the boobs, the make up and surgery and yet she seems so down-to-earth in personality considering. Great post.

    • You’re right, Becky. Something about Dolly makes her seem so much more accessible than some other celebrities. It really reminds us that it’s what inside that counts.

  6. Dolly is just so wonderful! I love finding values and other unexpected wonders in eccentric people, it shows that we all have values, something we all stand up and believe in, even though it may appear we don’t.

  7. I was just over at Colours of Sunset and I read something about your age… I might have read wrong, but aren’t you in your early thirties?? 🙂 I remember Dolly Parton.. mostly from the Kenny Roger’s Roasted Chicken restaurant franchise heehee…

    by the way the Children’s Garden is in Bukit Timah. Fairly new I reckon. You should check it out if you do visit here again one day 🙂

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • Ai, I am at least 10 years older than you think! Ah well……

      Bukit Timah – been ages since I went. I’ll keep it in mind for when we do get back to Singapore.

  8. I’ve actually been a big Dolly fan since I read her biography several years ago. Her childhood was incredibly challenging. And there is much more to her than meets the eye. Not only does she have incredible insight into the disparity between her public image and who she really is, but she plays on it in the spirit of good humour and goodwill. I loved reading about how she’s inspired you!

    • Wow, Misha, I don’t actually know any younger Dolly fans, other than I guess some of the young new country music stars through American Idol, etc. Even from those few comments, I can tell there is more than meets the eye. Even though I didn’t initially question it, the way she comes across does show how self-aware and deliberate her public image is. I may just have to find her biography and read it myself, though I’m not sure when I’ll get the chance to read any books for some time with the little ones keeping me busy!

  9. I love that Dolly’s true character is such a stark contrast to her over-the-top fake appearance. I have not read her biography but I think it would be incredibly inspiring.
    I look forward to reading about your own choice of values.

    • I agree, Erin. It sounds like her biography would be fascinating. The juxtaposition between her external and internal person is interesting. Shows she’s living her unique life as she has chosen and not trying to be anyone else.

  10. Great observation Veronica. Dolly is a perfect example of not judging the exterior. She has also made a great living from what she does. Looking forward to seeing how you go with your values.
    Could you let me know how I grab your button? I have been wanting to add it to my blog side bar and I am really crap at the techy stuff.

    • Great and true insight, Laney. I’ve also found my kids teach me things at times without intending too. I have to remind myself to be mindful and in the moment with them so I can remain teachable.

  11. I quite like Dolly too. I have always admired her and found her to be much smarter and wiser than people give her credit for.

    I’m with Laney, my boys surprise me all the time with what they come out with and can teach me. Today my almost 5yo asked me if he I had wanted kids and if he himself was wanted as a baby. No idea where that came from, but it amazed me that it was something he had questioned and sought the answer to.

    • The more I’ve read comments here, Bee, the more I’ve found myself liking and admiring Dolly.

      And, wow! Your son asked an amazing and, I would have found rather confronting, question. Did you find out where he got that idea? Yes, I have found since having my children that I have lots to learn about myself and life from them, as long as I remain teachable.

      • I asked him where he got it from and he couldn’t tell me. I think maybe he heard something on TV or his teachers talking at pre-school, but knowing him it could have been weeks or months ago! I didn’t go in to detail about the fact that we went through IF and multiple miscarriages to get him, he’s still a bit young for that, but did reassure him that he was very much wanted!

      • Not sure how I’m going to handle the IVF questions when they come up. The birds, the bees and a test-tube. I’ve got that as a heading for a post one day. Just no content to put in yet!

  12. Pingback: A Choice of Compassion? « Mixed Gems

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