You don’t get to have a 50+ year career by taking every little piece of advice along the way. Dolly Parton should know that better than anyone, having withstood the test of time on the stage and screen combining talent with a particular sense of fashion and branding. It’s all worked along the way and there’s a reason at 76 years old she’s still seemingly as relevant as when it all started back in the 1960s. Recently, Dolly Parton opened up about a piece of career advice she’s gotten more times than she can count, and always just managed to ignore. It even got her trending because of the honesty and confidence within the response.
While talking to Adam Grant on his podcast WorkLife with Adam Grant (via CNBC), Dolly Parton was asked about bad advice folks in and around the singer/star were always trying to give to her. She opened up about this kind of unsolicited advice, how it affected her, and how she was able to move past it without too much of an issue. Check out part of what Dolly Parton had to say about it and why she never really changed even after all of these years:
“The main advice that people wanted to give me was to change my look – 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…The way I look and the way I looked then was a country girl’s idea of glam…It was really like a look I was after. I wasn’t a natural beauty. I just like to look the way I look. I’m so outgoing inside, I need the way I look to match all of that.”
There’s no doubt that Dolly Parton has carried a unique and pretty singular style throughout her career. It’s become as much a part of her personal branding as anything else, always clearly standing out in a crowd with the way she’s dressed and presented herself. Saying that she understands her particular style could come off in a certain way (she calls it “cheap”) but is crafted in such a way to match her personality.
It’s been a bold way to take things and even when presented advice on how and why to change it, Dolly Parton doesn’t seem to have wanted any part of it. If anything, this commitment to her brand is what’s helped her stay in the limelight all these years. Sure, the talent is more than there, but to continue a decades (and decades) long career there has to be some je ne sais quoi as well. Dolly Parton clearly has that piece locked down.
At 76, Dolly Parton is still cranking it out. She just released Run, Rose, Run a fiction novel she wrote with James Patterson. Along with the book is an album (one compliments the other), the 48th studio release from Dolly Parton, a staggering output for the singer. The novel follows a young country singer (sound familiar?) who is trying to outrun a troubled past as well as present dangers. The book has received mostly favorable reviews so far, as has the album.
It’s a testament to the creative output of Dolly Parton that even in her 70s, the singer (and now author) is able to continue putting out work that touches her fans and even has a broader commercial appeal. Few can say that at any point, and even fewer after they’ve been doing it for more than 50 years. Part of it has to do with what Dolly Parton mentioned to Grant, about having an uncompromising vision for who she wants to be as an artist, even in the face of others giving unwanted advice.