Hello Dolly! A Legend and Inspiration for Women

Hello Dolly!  A Legend and Inspiration for Women

If you go beyond the country thang and look behind the hair, the make-up and “the girls,” you’ll find Dolly Parton – a legend, an extraordinary business woman and an inspiration for women.

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a huge Dolly fan, not for her music for her business savvy and the way she’s lived her life.  Parton has been quoted as saying, “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.” For almost six decades, she’s been brave enough and not only tried, but succeeded.

Dolly Parton has amassed an estimated net worth of over $450 million. She’s ranked 6th on Celebrity Networth’s list of richest singers and is considered one of the bestselling and most successful artists (male or female) of all time in any genre.  An extraordinary accomplishment for anyone let alone a woman born in the back woods of Tennessee in 1946. What’s more notable is that during a time when women weren’t appreciated in the world of country music or in the business world, Parton used her over-the-top female persona to defy the odds and create her own success.  She lives life on her own terms which is only one of the reasons she’s an inspiration for women.  Using her own words, quotes from Dolly I like to call Dollyisms, here are a few more reasons she’s such an inspiration:

“I’m not going to limit myself just because people won’t accept the fact that I can do something else.” – Dolly Parton

Parton uses her assets.  No, I’m not referring to her physical assets, which are plentiful!  I’m referring to her many talents. Wikipedia lists Parton’s occupations as singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, author, musician, and businesswoman. She knows her strengths and has maximized them to the fullest.  Parton also hasn’t let anything deter her from doing what she wants to do. Here’s the short list of her accomplishments (via Wikipedia):

–          Composed more than 3,000 songs

–          Released more than 40 albums

–          Won 8 Grammy awards (45 nominations) and 7 country music awards (39 nominations)

–          Starred in 11 movies, most notably 9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias

–          Earned 2 Gloden Globe nominations for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy

–          Earned 2 Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song

–          Wrote the score for 9 to 5, The Musical which had a short stint on Broadway

–          Owns two theme parks, Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country

“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton ‘owns’ her image.  When it comes to Parton’s image, the first two things that come to mind are big hair and big boobs!  And, she doesn’t apologize for either.  Parton embraces her image and uses it to enhance, so to speak, her brand and to keep her relevant.  Her breasts are iconic and have been mentioned in eight songs including “Lollipop Remix” by Lil Wayne featuring Kanye West and “Make Me Proud” by Drake featuring Nicki Minaj. Not that I’ve heard or condone any of the songs, but I’d say her image is pretty relevant given she’s in her 60’s and some of the hottest singers are rapping about her.

Parton may use her image to her advantage, but unlike many stars, she does it on her terms and doesn’t take it too far.  Parton turned down numerous offers to appear in Playboy and the like.  When she did agree to do the cover of Playboy, it was in conjunction with a well-timed interview and she wore the iconic bunny suit.  The interview was one of her first with the mainstream press.  Parton’s Playboy cover and interview garnered national attention at the time.

”I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb – and I’m not blonde either.” – Dolly Parton

Parton is definitely not dumb.  She’s probably one of the smartest businesswomen in entertainment.  She was even smart enough to turn down an offer from Elvis Presley.  Elvis wanted to record “I Will Always Love You.”  Parton refused because the deal also meant giving Elvis half of the publishing rights to the song.  I would venture to guess she was one of the few women to ever refuse Elvis anything!  I’ve heard interviews where Parton retells the story and recall her saying she wouldn’t give up her publishing rights because, “I want to own as much of myself as possible!”  A very gutsy and smart move on her part, especially when years later Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” became one of the bestselling singles of all time.

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton

Parton has found a balance in life that works for her.  She keeps her personal life out of the spotlight and takes care of herself and her ‘people.’  She’s been married for more than 50 years and Parton and her husband helped raise her younger siblings.  Dolly has never forgotten where she came from.  Through her  and gives back to the people of the Great Smokey Mountains in Sevier County, Tennessee.

Dolly Parton is known and loved by four generations of my family.  My grandparents and parents love her for her bluegrass and country music.  My eleven year old knows her from her recurring role on Disney’s Hannah Montana and for being Miley Cyrus’s unofficial godmother. I love Dolly Parton because she speaks her mind and she speaks her truth.  She doesn’t care what other people think about her and she always presents herself with a positive attitude.  I admire the fact that she didn’t achieve her success on the backs of others, particularly other women.  And, Dolly Parton has inspired me as a woman in leadership for many years.

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” – Dolly Parton

Let us know what great women have inspired you.  #LeaveYourLegacy #Thankful

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Passionate advocate for the advancement and empowerment of women. Prior HR exec and co-founder of Ask Ajna - helping women find their voice in the workplace.

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