Dolly Parton is a badass and today she turns 70 years old.
I've loved Dolly for a long, long time. It started with her completely charming and totally endearing portrayal of Truvy in Steel Magnolias - one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time. In fact, I really fell in love with Dolly the actress before I fell in love with Dolly the musician.
Eventually, I discovered Jolene (arguably one of the greatest country songs of all time) and Coat of Many Colors and the fact that she wrote I Will Always Love You.
I learned that Dolly Parton has written over THREE THOUSAND SONGS during her 70 years.
And yet - despite her status as a truly prolific songwriter - I think Dolly's badass status comes from something much deeper and much fiercer.
Dolly Parton is one brilliant damn business woman. Seriously, listen to just a small part of her story as told (hilariously) by Drunk History.
I can't imagine what it took to stand up to her mentor and protect her music catalog, but Dolly did it and she kept doing it. At one point, Elvis Presley wanted to record that little ditty she wrote for Porter Wagoner, but he wanted half of the publishing rights. Dolly said no.
One of my favorite Dolly Parton quotes of all time has always been, "It doesn't bother me when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know I'm not dumb and I know I'm not blonde."
That's the other part of Dolly's complete badassery, the way she deflects all that business brilliance behind a mask of big hair, bigger boobs, and sassy jokes.
I recently heard a story about Dolly that further confirmed all my high opinions. The former minister of my childhood church recounted a story told to him by our church's sound engineer who traveled to the Ryman Auditorium to learn more about broadcasting for our church. He was there during one of Dolly's rehearsals. She was being told by one of the stage producers where to stand.
Dolly looked at him and stated plainly, "I know where you want me but that's not where I want to be."
The story could end there and it would be great. Dolly being Dolly and standing by her own opinions of what works for her.
But, it doesn't.
She then turned to her assistant and said, "Honey, write that down. That would make a great country music song." Bad. Ass.
Happy birthday, Dolly. Thanks for being a badass. Thanks for inspiring all us women to stand where we want to stand and be who we want to be.