Dolly Parton On Avoiding Exercise, Her New Fragrance, And Her “Glamorous Trash” Beauty Looks

by Freya Drohan

Dolly Parton knows how to give us a highly quotable one-liner. And true to form, her feature on WSJ. Magazine’s popular My Monday Morning series delivers nothing but gems that will surely wind up on a Pinterest board near you. Parton, 75, also dived into detail on her upcoming fragrance launch, Scent From Above, which is hitting stores in July—soon followed by makeup and wigs.

As teased to the outlet, the upcoming fragrance will combine all of her favorite clean, soft scents. “I’ve actually always worn a combination of scents, a couple of perfumes mixed with some bath oils and lotions. And that gave me the idea that [for my own fragrance] I need to combine my other scents,” she says. “The people…who developed the scent for us checked all the ingredients of the stuff I loved. It took us a long time to come up with the exact fragrance that I was really happy with.”

Revealing that she can get by on just three hours of sleep and her daily “cup of ambition,” the performer and multi-faceted businesswoman and philanthropist shared what a day in the life looks like. Here are the best bits!

On her morning mantra: 

I pray every day that God will put all the right things, all the right people in my life, and take all the wrong things, all the wrong people out, and guide me. Then I figure out what I want to wear and what I want to accomplish…and I have my cup of ambition.

On her beauty routine: 

“I do all my beauty work and cleaning my face in the morning because I usually try to keep my makeup on at night. Because I never know if there’s going to be an earthquake or a tornado or a storm and I’m going to have to go out in the middle of the night! I don’t like to go home and just tear down completely, because my poor husband has to look at me.”


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A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

On her original beauty and style inspiration:

I’m impressed with anybody that’s got a sense of glamour and style, but I say, first of all, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin. My own over-exaggerated look came from a serious place I’ve often spoken about: the town tramp in our little country hometown. They called her trash, but to me she was absolutely beautiful. She wore colorful patchwork skirts and pretty blouses and showed a little cleavage and had red nails and piled-up blond hair and red lipstick and high heels. She was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. When everybody would say, ‘Oh, she’s just trash,’ I’d say, ‘Well, trash is what I’m going to grow up to be.’ And I guess my look is glamorous trash!

On her approach to fitness:

I create my own rejoicing exercises! I grew up in the Pentecostal church where we used to do a lot of shouting and jumping around. I keep my motor running in the mornings when I just shout through the house praising the Lord. It gave me an idea to create some easy exercises, and I’m making music to go along with it. Something that even people in wheelchairs or people that are older or sick can do. I thought I could create something joyful, where you were doing something for a reason rather than yourself. But that’s the extent of my exercise. I’m not big on going to the gym…and I’m particular about who I sweat with.

On dressing at home:

I don’t wear sweat clothes.

On her relationship with food:

If I’m working I’ll stay on a low-carb diet during the week and then eat anything I want on the weekends. I just watch moderation for the most part…. I have a tendency to gain weight because I’m so short and because I have a farmer’s daughter’s appetite.


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A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

On her hair: 

I do have a wig for every occasion! I always make a joke—but it’s really not a joke—that I never have a bad hair day. Cheryl Riddle is my hairdresser, and she gives me a great variety of different wigs…but I usually don’t wear wigs when I’m home. I was born blond and couldn’t wait to get it blonder. I started buying peroxide as soon as I could afford it! I just am a blonde. That’s just my nature. It’s me.

On what’s guiding her right now:

I think we’ve been held up to the light. I know I’ve learned a lot about myself, and by doing things to help other people, it’s helped me, too. Because you know the old saying, ‘By teaching I am taught.’ By making other people try to feel good and lift them up, it’s lifted me up. Doing something to make somebody else feel good, in turn makes me feel good. That has really provided a lot of solace for me. Concentrating on what I can do to help someone makes me realize who I am as a human being. I’ve also learned a lot about patience, tolerance, understanding. I think a lot of people have. We’ve shown our true colors during this time.

The full interview with Dolly Parton is featured in WSJ. Magazine’s June/July Issue, which hits newsstands on Saturday, June 5.

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