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Dolly Parton Talks About Launching a Fragrance, Loving Cheap Makeup + More

WSJ. Magazine features music icon Dolly Parton in their popular series My Monday Morning

Dolly Parton
Photographed by ©Rob Hoffman in 2019 / WSJ. Magazine

Country music legend Dolly Parton stars in WSJ. Magazines series My Monday Morning, and discusses her love for cheap makeup, morning beauty routine, exercising, style, launching Dolly by Dolly Parton fragrance, and more.

People have always loved the way I smell. I’ve had people literally follow me down the street to ask, “What are you wearing? I’ve got to know what you’re wearing!” I’ve always liked a perfume called White Linen, which [ Estée Lauder ] still makes, and I use a musk bath oil. I just love a clean, soft smell. I’ve actually always worn a combination of scents, a couple of perfumes mixed with some bath oils and lotions. And that gave me the idea that [for my own fragrance] I need to combine my other scents. The people…who developed the scent for us checked all the ingredients of the stuff I loved. It took us a long time to come up with the exact fragrance that I was really happy with. – Dolly on bringing that sensibility to fragrance

On being an early riser:
I just don’t require a lot of sleep! Five or six hours, and I can motivate if I need to on three hours. I pray every day that God will put all the right things, all the right people in my life, and take all the wrong things, all the wrong people out, and guide me. Then I figure out what I want to wear and what I want to accomplish…and I have my cup of ambition.

On her breakfast:
If I’m working I’ll stay on a low-carb diet during the week and then eat anything I want on the weekends. I just watch moderation for the most part…. I have a tendency to gain weight because I’m so short and because I have a farmer’s daughter’s appetite.

On her regular morning beauty routine (which includes sleeping in her makeup):
I do all my beauty work and cleaning my face in the morning because I usually try to keep my makeup on at night. Because I never know if there’s going to be an earthquake or a tornado or a storm and I’m going to have to go out in the middle of the night! I don’t like to go home and just tear down completely, because my poor husband has to look at me. And in the morning when I get up I start all over again, put on my makeup and then touch it up through the day.

On her first touchstones for beauty and style:
I’m impressed with anybody that’s got a sense of glamour and style, but I say, first of all, it’s about being comfortable in your own skin. My own overexaggerated look came from a serious place I’ve often spoken about: the town tramp in our little country hometown. They called her trash, but to me she was absolutely beautiful. She wore colorful patchwork skirts and pretty blouses and showed a little cleavage and had red nails and piled-up blond hair and red lipstick and high heels. She was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. When everybody would say, “Oh, she’s just trash,” I’d say, “Well, trash is what I’m going to grow up to be.” And I guess my look is glamorous trash!

On what she does for exercise:
I create my own rejoicing exercises! I grew up in the Pentecostal church where we used to do a lot of shouting and jumping around. I keep my motor running in the mornings when I just shout through the house praising the Lord. It gave me an idea to create some easy exercises, and I’m making music to go along with it. Something that even people in wheelchairs or people that are older or sick can do. I thought I could create something joyful, where you were doing something for a reason rather than yourself. But that’s the extent of my exercise. I’m not big on going to the gym…and I’m particular about who I sweat with.

On what she’s working on:
I’ve got a lot of projects that I’m working on. We have the Dollywood opening stuff coming along, and I’m always working on some music and writing something. I’ve had such luck recently with some of the more inspirational songs. “When Life Is Good Again” is about the pandemic, and I wrote one called “I Still Believe,” and I just won a Grammy with Zach Williams for a song called “There Was Jesus.” I think people need uplifting things right now.

On some of her takeaways after what was a very challenging year:
I think we’ve been held up to the light. I know I’ve learned a lot about myself, and by doing things to help other people, it’s helped me, too. Because you know the old saying, “By teaching I am taught.” By making other people try to feel good and lift them up, it’s lifted me up. Doing something to make somebody else feel good, in turn makes me feel good. That has really provided a lot of solace for me.

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