Strange Things Everyone Ignores About Dolly Parton

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There is no one quite like Dolly Parton. The icon has been famous for decades, and for a wide array of talents — from singing and acting to her entrepreneurial skills — she stands out as a unique and enduring figure in pop culture since the beginning of her versatile career. In a Southern Living interview, Parton reflected on her innate happiness, which unmistakably radiates from within.

"I often say that I was born with a happy heart," Parton noted. "But we make our own choices as to whether we're going to be happy or whether we're going to be miserable. It's a choice. Everything's a choice."

She's right, and while one could go on for days about the impressive list of accomplishments she chose to conquer, Parton has also made quite a few strange choices that everyone seems to ignore. From her strange beauty habits and fashion choices — such as always wearing long sleeves — to refusing to ride her own roller coasters at Dollywood, there are intriguing facets of the superstar's persona that raise eyebrows.

Dolly Parton doesn't expose her arms or hands

Dolly Parton's devoted fans have surely noticed her penchant for wearing long sleeves, fingerless gloves, or what often appear to be high-necked, flesh-colored bodysuits. The reason behind Parton's peculiar fashion choice has been the subject of speculation, with Parton herself attributing it to the desire to hide her tattoos.

In a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, the iconic country musician disclosed that she had multiple smaller tattoos done to cover up keloid scars from various medical procedures. As she knew the ink would make a splash in the media, she began covering her arms to maintain a level of privacy. However, according to insights from The Sun and Parton's creative director, Steve Summers, there's another aspect to the story.

Summers explained, "People always ask why she always wears sleeves — well, she's 73 years old, and she doesn't like her elbows. She doesn't like [her hands]. It's a normal woman thing." Nonetheless, the coverings Parton usually opts for make quite the fashion statement, so the star definitely worked her way around this strange thing about herself.

The entrepreneur hasn't ridden any of the rides at Dollywood

Renowned for her myriad talents, Dolly Parton has expanded her entertaining ventures into the realm of theme parks with the establishment of Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, a thriving attraction since 1986. Drawing inspiration from her childhood and life experiences, the park boasts an impressive selection of attractions, including different types of roller coasters, swing rides, and more. Despite the ground's extensive offerings, Parton herself has never taken a spin on any of the rides.

In a 2019 interview with The New York Times, Parton candidly admitted that she is far from an adrenaline junkie and lacks the courage to experience her own creations at Dollywood. "I have a tendency to get motion sickness," she explained, humorously remarking, "Also, I'm a little bit chicken."

However, it's not just a fear of the rides that keeps her away; Parton doesn't want to mess up her impeccable appearance. The superstar quipped, "With all my hair, I got so much to lose, like my wig or my shoes." In real Dolly-style, she concluded, "I'm gonna have some handsome man mess it up; I don't want some ride doing it."

Dolly Parton has an extensive collection of wigs

Known for her over-the-top hair, Dolly Parton has no problem admitting it's mostly not hers. The star once famously quipped, "People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don't know; I'm never there." While wearing wigs is not uncommon, Parton takes it to another level, boasting a collection of hundreds of wigs, each seemingly identical.

In a 2016 interview with Vogue Magazine, she disclosed that she has a dedicated storage space for her wigs, even on her tour bus, though she admitted uncertainty about the exact quantity. When pressed for a number, she quipped, "I have no idea. I can't really count them all," adding with a playful tone, "I always make a joke and say, 'I wear one almost every day, so I must have at least 365!'"

Parton's distinctive image has been a hallmark of her entertainment career, and as she explained in a 2017 conversation with Vogue, it was inspired by a woman from her hometown. "She had those piles of bleached hair, red lipstick, nails, cheeks, and high-heeled shoes." However, Parton quickly realized her natural hair wouldn't survive long with all the bleaching and styling, so she started wearing wigs. "That way, I never had a bad hair day," she noted.

She doesn't take her makeup off before going to sleep

In the realm of modern-day skincare enthusiasts, Dolly Parton marches to the beat of her own drum, defying conventional wisdom by consistently sleeping with a full face of makeup; she has been doing so for decades. Confirming this unusual practice in her memoir, "Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones," according to The Insider, the iconic star attributed the habit to potential natural disasters.

"When I arrived in LA in the '80s, I started sleeping with my makeup on, partly because of the earthquakes," Parton explained, adding, "I thought, 'I'm not heading out on the streets without makeup in case there are cameras out there! I'm going to be ready to go!'"

While she doesn't delve into the intricate details of her skincare routine in the memoir, Parton does make it clear that she removes the makeup upon waking up and promptly applies a fresh layer after washing her face. Additionally, she wants to look good for her husband even as they drift off to sleep, as she emphasized in a 2021 talk with the Wall Street Journal. "My poor husband has to look at me," Parton explained her reasoning, remaining unapologetically true to her unique skincare approach despite being married for over half a century.

The singer seizes each day by waking up at 3 a.m.

Being an early riser has its advantages, and Dolly Parton takes it to the next level by waking up at 3 a.m. every day. Despite her hectic schedule, the iconic singer shared with The Insider that her internal alarm clock seems to be set for this early hour. "I don't require as much sleep as a lot of other people do; that's kind of a Parton family trait," she explained.

However, Parton doesn't waste any time in the early hours. She kicks off her day with calls and emails, but not before getting her zen on, as she revealed in a 2018 interview with Today. "I do my little meditations; I do my little spiritual work," she noted, after which she means business. "I get more work done between 3 and 7 than most people all day because it's quiet and the energy's all low-key, except mine."

Beyond her professional commitments, Parton uses her early mornings to prepare a hearty breakfast for her rarely-seen husband, Carl Thomas Dean, before he gets up, and we're not talking about a sandwich. According to The Insider, Parton enjoys cooking up a Southern spread, which traditionally includes soul food like biscuits, bacon, eggs, and other delights we wouldn't mind waking up to.