Dolly Parton Shares the Worst Career Advice She's Ever Received—and Why She Didn't Listen

"People wanted me to change. They thought I looked cheap."

Dolly Parton Portrait Session
Photo: Ron Davis/Getty Images

Imagine telling Dolly Parton what to do or how to look?

While it might sound inconceivable now, the country legend recently shared that she's had other people's opinions pushed upon her throughout her career.

Fortunately for all of us, she didn't listen.

In the latest episode of the WorkLife with Adam Grant podcast, Parton reveals the terrible career advice she's received numerous times over the course of her 50 years in the spotlight.

"The main advice that people wanted to give me was to change my look," Parton says. "To go simpler with my hair. And the way that I dressed. Not to look so cheap. Nobody was ever going to take me serious, they would say."

But the singer's over-the-top look has always been intentional. Changing it never crossed her mind.

"The way I look and the way I looked then was a country girl's idea of glam, just like I wrote in my 'Backwoods Barbie' song," she explains. "But people wanted me to change. They thought I looked cheap."

WATCH: Dolly Parton Had The "Biggest Hair in School"

Parton goes on to explain the nonconventional inspiration for her signature look.

"I patterned my look after the town tramp. And everybody said, 'she's trash,' but in my little girl mind I thought, 'well that's what I'm gonna be when I grow up,'" the Tennessee native says. "It was really like a look I was after. I wasn't a natural beauty. I just like to look the way I look. I'm so outgoing inside, I need the way I look to match all of that."

We couldn't agree more, Dolly!

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