Dolly Parton, country singer extraordinaire, leading lady, blonde poof ball and Tennessee charmer, has soul. Just look past those country melons and you’ll see the heart of an unparalleled woman and brand. Miss Parton’s career was built on her musical talent. But what she brings to fans is a persona that inspires a feeling of closeness. I admire Dolly not only for her undeniable gifts as a performer and breadth of work, but her ability to sell her white trash and rhinestone image. Furthermore, this image is a deliberate choice that makes people listen and take notice.
Most wouldn’t succeed modeling their appearance after the town tramp. But Dolly has done precisely that. Many blonde country super stars come out of Nashville, but her name leads in top of the mind awareness. Her look is that of an entertainer- sparkles, figure fitting, and lots of dramatic makeup. Dolly never abandons or alters her image. She has said that she wears makeup to bed, in case of a fire. She wouldn’t want to come out of a burning building without her face on. This over the top looks distinguishes her from other performers.
Dolly has been in the limelight for 60 years, keeping relatively same honky tonk look. Surprisingly, she is open about her large breasts and nip/tucks. Dolly beats the media to the punch line. The public responds to her honesty and self-deprecation, which are all ingredients to the Dolly brand potion. It enamors so many with its charm and frankness. Because she has stuck to her teased hair and tawdry acrylic nails, Miss Parton is iconic. Her name is synonymous with her all most circus like look.
Dolly’s brand image is complex. Despite her whorish getup, she exudes country wholesomeness. And she does so without missing a beat. What drives her successful career and her appearance to the public is this sinner/saint paradox. She sings eloquently about love and life. But while singing eloquently, she’ll be wearing skin tight bejeweled bell bottoms. To her fans, she’s open yet mysterious. This depth of personality and music keeps her fan base buying her music and her movies. With Dolly what you see is what you get. People know that underneath all of the sequins and spice, Dolly has a magnanimous spirit and outlook.
Through her flashy look, Dolly’s music receives more attention. Dolly’s brand image makes you stop in your tracks to take a look at that pretty lady. Once she catches your eye with a glimmer of a sequin, she knows you’ll listen to her backwoods beats. This attention-grabbing look is a strategy from a smart business woman. What keeps Dolly dynamic and relevant today is the continued uniqueness of her look, her transparency, and her accessibility to her fans. Add to this the complexity of her personality and her iconic status, and you’ve got the Dolly Parton brand.