“I have to be ambulance-ready”: Dolly Parton tells reason why she always has her makeup done

Few artists have reached the cult status that Dolly Parton has. The Tennessee native has become nothing short of a legend and, despite performing and singing pretty much for her entire life, she still loves entertaining her legions of fans. 

Now, Dolly Parton has always been known for her amazing outfits on stage, as well as her extensive makeup. She has also gone on record before as to the reason why she’s never actually seen in public without her public.

Fortunately, we’ve done a little digging, and found some pictures of her with less makeup on. And boy do they show that she is a true, natural beauty …

Here’s all you need to know about the magnificent country star, Dolly Parton!

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton was born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, on January 19, 1946. She grew up somewhat poor in Locust Ridge, near the Great Smoky Mountains, as one of 12 children. As one can imagine, money was an issue. 

Dolly Parton – early life

However, music became something that bonded her family. Her mother sang and played guitar, and when Parton learned more about music by performing in church at a young age.

“Music was such a large part of our whole family,” Parton recalled. “All of my mama’s people were musical. They all played some musical instrument. Of course, I took my music real serious, and I was always plucking along on somebody’s instrument — whatever they would leave lying around or whenever my family would come. But I always loved the guitar.”

Eventually, Dolly got a guitar from her uncle. Before long, she had started to write songs of her own. 

By age 10, she had performed on several local television and radio stations in Knoxville, Tennessee. Then, at age 13, she made her debut on the national country radio station, Grand Ole Opry, earning about $20 a week. 

Family and music walked hand in hand for the Partons. In fact, it was her uncles that helped her take the next step in her musical journey.

Dolly Parton

“I had two uncles who played — Uncle Bill, who helped me get into the business, and Uncle Lewis, who was also a great guitar player,” she said. “He had this little Martin guitar that I loved, so when he saw how serious I was about my music, he gave me his little Martin guitar. It was my treasure.”

Moved to Nashville

Parton went to high school and graduated, becoming the first in her family to do so. But in 1964, at 18, she decided to focus entirely on her music career. So Dolly left home and headed to the Mecca of the country music scene, Nashville. 

“I had a dream,” she said. “And I had a talent, I thought. And I really believed it was going to happen.”

In Nashville, Dolly quickly became a star. She worked with Porter Wagoner on The Porter Wagoner Show, and the duo became very popular. Parton and Wagoner released several country hits together, and she soon got a contract with RCA Records. In 1971, Parton landed her first No. 1 country hit, Joshua, and several more hits followed. One of them was, of course, Jolene.

Parton got the idea in the late 1960s when she usually signed autographs for the audience after whatever television show she was on.

“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time,” Parton recalled.

Dolly Parton

“And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. I said, ‘Well, you’re the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?’ And she said, ‘Jolene.’ And I said, ‘Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene. ‘That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that.'”

Dolly Parton – ‘Jolene’

The inspiration for the song’s lyrics, meanwhile, came from a bank teller showing Parton’s new husband some interest.

“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton said. “And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, ‘Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.’ So it’s really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one.”

The song Jolene only has 200 words in it. However, it became one of the biggest hits of the 20th century. Dolly Parton reached No. 1 on the charts, and the song was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (both studio and live versions).

Also, Jolene was ranked No. 217 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, released in 2004.

Dolly Parton

With songs like I, Will Always Love You – which was a tribute to Wagoner and their professional relationship – The Seeker, Love Is Like a Butterfly, and All I Can Do, Dolly stacked up award upon award, becoming a worldwide superstar in the process. 

Hits and awards

She won her first Grammy in 1977 with Here You Come Again, and more hits followed.

In the 1980s, Dolly broadened her audience by heading into the film industry.

She starred alongside Jane Fonda in the 1980 hit comedy 9 to 5, for which she also contributed with the soundtrack. More film appearances followed, and in 1986, she even opened her amusement park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 

Dolly claims to have written more than 3,000 songs in her career. Meanwhile, she sold over 100 million albums, topped the country chart 25 times, and won a staggering eight Grammy Awards. And she’s showing no signs of slowing down.

“Almost every day I come up with a few song titles or a sweet melody,” Parton told BBC in 2016.

“I’m 16 in some ways. I’m still a hopeless romantic. But I’m 35 in my spirit and in my mind. When I was 35, it was a pinnacle, a great time in my life – success and happiness and all that. And so I just decided ‘I’m gonna claim that number and always be that in my state of mind.'”

Dolly Parton
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

While Dolly has conquered the world with her legendary music, songwriting, and outstanding live performances, she found the love of her life more than 55 years ago.

Dolly Parton – husband Carl Dean

In 1964, Dolly met Carl Dean outside the Wishy Washy Laundromat in Nashville, Tennessee. At the time, Dolly was 18 years of age, and Carl was 21. Straight away, Carl realized something exceptional about the young lady.

“My first thought was, ‘I’m gonna marry that girl,'” Dean said in a statement of the moment they met, as quoted by Entertainment Tonight

“My second thought was, ‘Lord she’s good lookin’.’ And that was the day my life began. I wouldn’t trade the last 50 years for nothing on this earth.”

Dean was sitting in his pickup truck as he saw Dolly and “hollered” at her, as she recalled in an interview with the NY Times in 1976.  However, she declined a date with him. Instead, she invited him over when she babysat her nephew just days after. It was the start of a love story that never ended.

In May 1966, Dolly and Carl married in a private ceremony in Ringgold, Georgia. Her record label wanted them to wait to get married since she had a career to think about. But Dean and Dolly didn’t want to wait, so they decided to tie the knot in Georgia so that the local press in Tennessee wouldn’t write about it. The only ones in attendance were Dolly, Carl, and her mother.

Dolly Parton

Ever since then, Dolly and Carl have been deeply in love. In 2016, the couple celebrated their 50th anniversary. To celebrate, they decided to renew their vows.

Why Carl never joins Dolly Parton on the red carpet

However, Carl Dean never walks the red carpet with his wife at award shows or charity events.

He did it once, back when his wife received her first songwriting award at 20. But that was it.

“After the dinner, we walked back out, and they brought us our car — I don’t even remember what we were driving then — and we got in it and headed for home,” Parton recalled, as quoted by The Boot.

“Carl turned to me and said, ‘Dolly, I want you to have everything you want, and I’m happy for you, but don’t you ever ask me to go to another one of them dang things again!'”

Dolly has been in show business all her life, so it’s helped her to have the support of her one true love throughout her entire life. These days, they can do whatever they want, and we genuinely think they deserve it all.

But there’s one thing that Carl and Dolly decided not to have: children. Why? Well, it simply wasn’t a good fit.

Over the years, rumors surrounding Dolly and plastic surgery have been discussed. But the 76-year-old herself is not afraid of talking honestly about it. Parton has never dodged questions about plastic surgery. Instead, she’s been open and honest about what she’s done regarding procedures, no matter what people think.

When people ask about her cosmetic procedures, Dolly says she will always be truthful.

Dolly Parton – plastic surgery, makeup

Speaking to Larry King, Dolly revealed that she underwent a facelift, breast implants, liposuction, eye surgery, excess skin removal, lip injections, and botox, among other procedures.

“I don’t want to lie about it, so I’ve got to — I think sometimes it might help. You know, it’s not like — I mean, I look so totally artificial, you know, but I hopefully am totally real,” Parton said.

“I try to pick the best doctor, and I don’t do it that often,” she added about her plastic surgery.

“I just — I actually do it in little bits and pieces, because I don’t want to do a whole big drastic thing. I’ve never had, like, just the whole big thing done, because I don’t want to look like, you know, tighter than a banjo head.”

Whether you see Dolly playing a gig, walking down the red carpet, or just shopping, she is always dressed like an absolute superstar. So you can always be sure that you’ll see the legendary country singer in fabulous outfits.

That said, not many people have seen her without her makeup.

Dolly Parton
Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

So why is that? Well, Dolly has a good explanation for that.

“I have to always stay ready”

In a 2020 interview with RuPaul for Marie Claire, Parton explained that she likes to stay “street ready.” That means having her hair and makeup done in case of an emergency.

“I have to always stay ready – street-ready, I always say,’ the country queen said. “I have to keep my makeup on and keep my hair done.”    

Parton added: ‘If it’s going to earthquake, if we get an earthquake, I’m not running out in the street looking like you look now. I have to be ambulance-ready at all times if I get sick or something.’

Although Dolly Parton always wants to be ready with her hair and makeup, she stated that she has no problem embracing her natural side.

“I’m comfortable in my own skin. I’m comfortable with my image, I dress for myself more than I do for somebody else,” Parton said.

Dolly Parton is a real beauty, and we love seeing these pictures of her without her thick layer of makeup.

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