Some people buy a new outfit; some get their hair cut; some make the decision to do something about their receding hairline. When Dolly Parton decided she wanted to improve her appearance she started by bleaching her hair. Now country’s most famous woman says her “artificial” appearance is her own.
“I have always admired natural beauties,” Dolly revealed in an interview. “But I am not one. Never have been.”
Dolly, the fourth of 12 children was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, and started dying her hair as soon as she could afford to.
“I started bleaching my hair as soon as I could get money to buy bleach. Before that it was that dishwater colour. I’d get the tar beat out of me for bleaching it, but I’d do it anyway. I just felt like a blonde.”
Hair is an important natural accessory and often a defining feature that reigns through into ones personality.
“I’m artificial,” Dolly says. “But it comes from a sincere place. And I ain’t telling people to look like me. I don’t say, ‘Oh, you need to have some big hair and big boobs and overdo your make-up and have nine inch nails. A lot of men think I’m just too artificial, but there are some good ol’ boys out there who don’t.”
Culturally, people have a lot of different views about hair and what it means. Some people who deal with hair loss are totally distraught while others, men and women, shave their heads totally bald by choice. Dolly always had the hair, but it was the colour that started her transformation from a small-town schoolgirl to a international blonde bombshell, and ignited family disapproval.
“My grandaddy was a Pentecostal preacher,” she says, “and that’s a very strict Holy Roller religion. They don’t even believe a woman should shave her legs or pluck her eyebrows. Almost like some of those Middle Eastern religions. So they were afraid I was going to go to Hell in a handbasket. And they were more afraid that people in the street were going to look at me wrong.”
But Dolly is very comfortable with the way she is now, thank you very much, and wouldn’t be able to tell you how she’d look otherwise.
“Don’t even know what colour my hair is now. It’s probably grey. Don’t want to see, don’t want to know.”