Country music legend and inspiration of drag queens worldwide, Dolly Parton has had 25 number one hits and sold more than 100 million records over the course of her career. Despite her success, she is perhaps just as well-known for her outrageous style, spunky wit, and, of course, her gigantic rack.
The self-described backwoods Barbie, now 66 years old, has always been good-natured about her appearance and openly talks about her various enhancements, including her penchant for wigs and extreme makeup. In August 1982, Dolly told People Magazine with her typical self-deprecating humor that she looks “like shit” without the wigs and makeup. And that’s why we love her.
Much of Dolly’s unique charm stems from her bigger-than-life image. Talent be damned, she has made a career off her gaudiness and she makes no apologies. She owns her tackiness and protects it at all costs. In May 2010, the singer/songwriter/actress famously told Oprah Winfrey that she never leaves the house without being fully made-up: “Not unless my husband was dying and I was having to run get help.”
It’s true that it’s not possible to find current photos of the bosomy star without full makeup. The closest images are shots of her when she was much younger. She’s changed a lot over the years, but in those early photos, Dolly Parton without makeup looks absolutely lovely.
The first photo shows Dolly with a (mostly) bare face in 1964 when she was just 18 years old. I am not a fan of country music, big hair, heavy makeup, or tackiness in general, but I have always had a soft spot for Dolly. I can appreciate how talented she is and I like that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I have to admit, though, her natural cuteness in this photo really emphasizes how creepy she looks now after all the cosmetic surgery and it makes me kind of sad.
The next photo is also pretty dated, and okay, she might have on some light makeup, but it’s so much less than what we’re accustomed to seeing her wearing that she may as well have just scrubbed with lye soap (that’s what country people do, right?). Dolly has a gorgeous smile, and that hair is perfection. It’s clear that underneath all the pageantry, she was an incredibly beautiful woman.