Dolly Parton’s Mother ‘Whacked’ Her on the Head After Seeing Her Dressed ‘Like a Trollop’

Dolly Parton is known for her over-the-top style. She loves wearing sparkly outfits, big hair, and bright makeup, but the “Love is Like a Butterfly” singer says her mother wasn’t happy with her look when she was younger.

Dolly Parton modeled her look after prostitutes

Dolly Parton and The Chippendales
Dolly Parton and The Chippendales in 1987 | Craig Sjodin/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Parton admired the prostitutes in her hometown. She says in her book, Dream More, she thought the town prostitute was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. “I often tell the story of how I thought the most beautiful woman in the county was the woman most people called trash,” says Parton in her book.

The country singer was in awe of the prostitute’s colorful outfits and her manicured nails. Parton wanted to look exactly like her. “In my eyes—with her big dyed hair, her bright red nails, her feet squeezed tight into her high-heel shoes, and all her paint and perfume—she was just perfect,” she adds.  

Dolly Parton’s mother ‘whacked’ her on the head when she saw her new look

Parton wanted to copy the town prostitute’s look, so she started dressing like her and wearing a lot of makeup. She tried to keep her dress-up sessions a secret. Parton didn’t want anyone in her family to know she was dressing like the “town trollop,” so she hid what she was doing. She wanted to hide her appearance from her mother and grandfather.

Unfortunately, Parton’s secret was uncovered. She says she was “busted” when her mother saw her new look. Her mother was not impressed and she asked Parton if she thought she would get into heaven looking the way she did. Parton told her mother she wanted to go to heaven, but she didn’t want to “look like hell” to get there. According to Parton, her mother told her she looked “like a trollop.” She responded by saying she didn’t care.

After Parton’s statement, she says her mother slapped her on the back of the head and told her not to say she didn’t care. Parton and her mother eventually moved past that incident. She says her mother knew deep down she was “a good girl.”

Dolly Parton loved wearing makeup when she was a child

Parton was a creative child. Before she could access real makeup, she used items she found in nature. She used red pokeberries as a replacement for lipstick. For eyeliner, she would use a burnt matchstick. In her book, Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, Parton says she looked forward to visits from her aunts because they would let her and her sister play with their makeup.

“We thought they were incredibly sophisticated and worldly,” wrote Parton. “Best of all, they had purses filled with lipstick and powder and eyeliner and all kinds of things we had no access to.” She says when they looked through their purses, they were like “art lovers touring a museum.”

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