Why I Love 75-Year-Old Dolly and 5 Reasons You Should Too – But Especially #4


Feature image credit: “Dolly Parton BIC concert” by pipilongstockings is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I am shamefully late to the Dolly party, but now I’m going to share with you all the things you need to know if you’re not already following the Parton Parade. But step lively – 75-year-old Dolly is on the move, and slowpokes will not be able to keep up.

“I don’t think about my life in terms of numbers. First of all, I ain’t never gonna be old, because I ain’t got time to be old. I can’t stop long enough to grow old.”

Chosen for this highly respected honor, Dolly Parton is a force for good, a humanitarian who inspires everyone she meets.

Along with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, President Joe Biden and Simone Biles, among others, Dolly is being recognized for her contributions to the world, which include but are by no means limited to the 1 million dollar donation she made to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2020 to fund Moderna’s vaccine.

Coming from a family of 12 children raised in rural Appalachia, through a lifetime of performing music in her iconic over the top look, to being on this list is just how Dolly rolls. In the Time essay about her godmother, Miley Cyrus notes:

“But though she created an identity that she downplays as being built on wigs, lots of gingham and silicone, the foundation for this empire is actually her honesty, her truth and her faith.”

Of course it is. Because Dolly.

Dolly just won her first Emmy as executive producer of Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, a Netflix special!

It’s astonishing to think it took this long for her to be recognized with a trophy, considering the number of award nominations she has:

50 Grammys

3 Tonys

2 Oscars

That’s including the 11 Grammys already on her mantlepiece.

As one of less than 100 artists in the rarified EGOT nominations groups, Dolly’s still got plenty of time to become an EGOT winner!

Dolly was supposed to go on a 15 global stadium tour this year to celebrate her 75th birthday – but… pandemic.

Okay, let’s take a few of those phrases and just ogle at them:

GLOBAL STADIUMS x 15

CELEBRATE TURNING 75

And in case you’re wondering, the largest concert venues hold 90-100 thousand fans. Ish. Her previous Pure and Simple Tour in 2016, when she was a mere 70, was 60+ dates all over North America.

Yup, Dolly is too busy to get old!

Dolly’s million-dollar donation for vaccine research is just the latest in a long line of her charitable contributions, both local and global. She has spent her entire career using her influence and sharing her wealth.

One of her proudest accomplishments? The Imagination Library, launched in 1995, sends free books monthly to children from birth to school age. By 2018, Dolly had given out 100 million books worldwide.

This is just ONE of Dolly’s initiatives to do with children and education. The Dollywood Foundation also sponsors the Buddy Program, several high school scholarships and the Chasing Rainbows Award for exceptional teachers. Honestly, reading about all that Dolly does makes me tear up.

“This woman that used to walk the streets had all this makeup and hair and high heel shoes. I thought she was so beautiful… I was not a raving natural beauty,” Parton said. “I just wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be striking. I wanted to be colorful. I wanted to be seen.”

Finally, I love Dolly because she looks, dresses and acts how she wants to look, dress and act. Is it extra? Hella yes. Does she care? Hella no. Lavish makeup, sparkly flamboyant outfits and injectables make Dolly a happy glamper. She doesn’t have to be going anywhere, like on stage either. During the lockdown in 2020, she got dressed every day for herself and Carl, her husband of 55 years.

I have nothing but huge admiration for any woman who stands up for herself and does not cave into convention or care about others’ opinions about how she lives her life. I am a work in progress to be that strong and choose for myself without regard for judgement, inner or outer.

For Dolly to have become so successful on her terms in a business that doesn’t go out of its way to reward independent, thinking women is one of the many reasons she is a cross generational icon for the ages.

I didn’t know any of this about Dolly until I began doing research for my book. Now I am such a fan of this 75-year-old who defies all societal definitions of age and ability and visibility.

Dolly shows the world we don’t wither on the vine of life after the age of 50. As Dolly says: “After you reach a certain age, they think you’re over. Well, I will never be over. I’ll be making records if I have to sell them out of the trunk of my car. I’ve done that in my past, and I’d do it again.”

Go, Dolly!

Did you know all this about Dolly Parton? How do you feel about her legacy? Which are your favourite songs? I use “Here You Come Again” for my front door buzzer!



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