Dolly Parton Is Proud of Being 'White Trash'

The legendary country singer and actress tells Southern Living her background keeps her humble

Photo: David McClister/Southern Living

Legendary country singer and actress Dolly Parton is making no apologies for her “redneck” background.

“We were really redneck, roughneck, hillbilly people. And I’m proud of it,” she says in the October issue of Southern Living, on newsstands Sept. 19. “‘White trash!’ I am. But I’m proud of my hillbilly, white trash background. That keeps you humble; that keeps you good.”

Another thing Parton, 68, has no qualms about owning is the plastic surgery she has had over the years. “Well, I never would have said I did it if I hadn’t got caught at it,” she says. “But I wasn’t gonna lie about it!”

“I’m not being the poster child for any of that, but people know you do it. If they ask me, I just say, ‘Yeah, whatever. And I ain’t done yet!’ ”

Parton, who spoke to the magazine in connection with the 25th anniversary of the tearjerker Steel Magnolias, in which she starred, readily admits it takes even more effort beyond plastic surgery to look the way she does. “When I talk about not being a natural beauty – I’m not. Trust me when I say: In the mornings, I gotta get up and paint on stuff. I gotta work for everything I’ve got.”

And the “Jolene” singer has worked hard for all she has achieved in her decades-long career. “You can’t just sit around and think of all the things you want to do,” she says. “You’ve got to think of what you want to do, and then you’ve got to get out and make that happen.”

One thing that didn’t happen for Parton was becoming a mother, something she feels was meant to be.

“I feel more like a godmother, like a fairy godmother, than I do like a real mother,” she says. “I think probably I make a better godmother and an aunt than I would a mother because I was always so involved in my own things. I probably would have been like my sisters and my mom. I probably would have given up my dreams for that.”

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