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As Dolly Parton has been in the entertainment industry for over five decades, she seems like a solid figure to turn to for advice. The trouble is, she says she doesn’t give it. Parton explained why she doesn’t like to offer career advice or, frankly, advice of any kind.

Dolly Parton wears a rhinestone shirt and holds a guitar. Dolly Parton has been in the music industry since the 1960s and likely has good advice for young performers.
Dolly Parton | David Redfern/Redferns

The ‘Jolene’ singer believes people know how to best live their lives

Parton has always believed that people should live their lives in a way that makes them happy and comfortable, regardless of what others think.

“I just think everybody should base how they live in this world with what they’re comfortable with,” she told Glamour in 2019. “I may make some people uncomfortable with the way I look because of their ideas about fashion and beauty. But if I’m comfortable in myself, not only in my own skin but in my own clothes, then something’s going to radiate from me that’s going to make other people feel comfortable with me.”

She said that allowing people to behave in the best way for them would make the world a better place.

“We all got blood, we all got tears, we all got problems,” she said. “We all got the same feelings inside us. People have different opinions. They belong to different groups, whether they’re Democrats or Republicans or Baptist or Pentecostal. We’re just people. We’re just people. And we need to be better to one another — and to ourselves.”

Dolly Parton explained that she does not give advice

When asked what tips she would give other actors or musicians, she explained that she doesn’t tend to give advice.

“Well, I always have my favorite line: I don’t give advice, I give information,” she told Backstage in 2017. “Because really, I think to give advice, sometimes could be wrong for certain people because I really [believe] that old saying, ‘To thine own self be true.’ You really have to know who you are and what you’re best at and what you’re willing to sacrifice.”

She later expanded on this. She told People in 2019:

“I was advised by a lot of people how I was doing things wrong when I came in. I thought, ‘How can I do things wrong when it’s about me? I will know it if it’s wrong. I will know it because I’m that in tune with myself and that in tune with God. It may not always turn out right from me, but I’m still safer in doing what feels right in my gut and in my heart.’ That’s why I say it’s not advice. There are things that I say, ‘You don’t need to ever do this.’ But we know what those are anyway. If someone just point blank asked me something, I’ll give them my take on it. But I still ain’t going to advise them.”

Still, she offered something she learned over her many years in showbusiness.

“But I would say this: You have to be fair, you have to be honest, you have to be open, but you also have to know when to draw the line and when it’s gonna cross the line [of] your morals and principles and values,” she said. “You don’t want to sell your soul.”

Despite her promise not to give it, this sounds suspiciously like advice.

Dolly Parton also will not advise her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus

Parton’s rule about advice even extends to those close to her. She once explained that she didn’t want to give advice to her goddaughter, Miley Cyrus.


Dolly Parton Wasn’t Supposed to Keep Books in the House Growing Up

“Who am I to tell Miley what to do?” she asked. “Lord, I’ve done everything, and what I ain’t done, I intend to. She’s going to do that, too. But Miley’s smart; Miley knows what she’s doing. I know we think she doesn’t, and she might not every minute, but I still know that she’s got good stuff in her.”