30 Dolly Parton Quotes That Are Sure to Make You Smile

Take a break from your nine-to-five to read these uplifting Dollyisms.

Dolly Parton is a living legend. Over her decades-long career, the country music superstar has released over 3,000 songs and garnered dozens of awards across the entertainment industry, from television to Broadway. You might know one of her 25 Billboard #1 hits, like “Jolene,” “9 to 5,” or “I Will Always Love You,” which topped the charts twice—as Dolly’s original and as a cover sung by Whitney Houston.

On the off-chance that you don’t recognize Dolly from her songwriting or one of the following Dolly Parton quotes, you’ll certainly recognize the singer’s iconic look: a voluminous bleach-blonde wig, lots of makeup, and no shortage of glitter or sequins. Dolly’s appearance may be timeless, but she’s always diving into new ventures. Most recently, she co-authored a novel with James Patterson called Run, Rose, Run, which is available for pre-order on Amazon. You may also have seen her starring in Christmas on the Square, a Netflix holiday musical that won an Emmy in 2021 for Outstanding Television Movie.

But Dolly’s impact doesn’t end with her art. She’s a major advocate for literacy, an issue close to her heart. Raised as one of 12 siblings in rural Appalachia, Dolly has described her family as “dirt poor.” Because of a lack of resources when he was young, her father didn’t read or write. His illiteracy became a determinant of his job prospects and ultimately the poverty of his family. Inspired by her family’s experience, in 1986 Dolly created the Dollywood Foundation, which provides college scholarships to high school students in Eastern Tennessee and beyond. In 1995 the organization expanded to include the Imagination Library to promote reading in early childhood. The foundation now provides over a million children around the world with a free book each month to inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Always a community member first, Dolly donated $9 million to victims of the Gatlinburg wildfires in 2016 that destroyed 2,500 homes. Early in the pandemic, she gave $1 million to help research for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. After receiving her vaccine in March 2021, she tweeted a video of her first shot with the caption “Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine,” one of many funny quotes that her fans affectionately call “Dollyisms.”

If you can’t get enough Dolly Parton in this collection, you can find some more Dolly-style wisdom from these uplifting quotes and these life quotes. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Reader’s Digest, be sure to check out these 100 quotes from famous people as well.

Inspiring Dolly Parton quotes

1. “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain.”

2. “I’m not happy all the time, and I wouldn’t want to be, because that would make me a shallow person. But I do try to find the good in everybody.”

3. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.”

4. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are an excellent leader.”

5. “I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life. I go out and smell the air after a good, hard rain. I re-read passages from my favorite books. I hold the little treasures that somebody special gave me. These small actions help remind me that there are so many great, glorious pieces of good in the world.”

6. “Life is a song to me.”

If you can’t get enough of Dolly’s positivity in these Dolly Parton quotes, check out these hope quotes.

7. “I think everyone should be with who they love.”

8. “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

9. “I’m very real where it counts, and that’s inside.”

10. “Find out who you are. And do it on purpose.”

11. “The seeds of dreams are often found in books, and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”

12. “When someone shows you their true colors, believe them.”

13. “I know how to stand my ground. I know how to speak up. I know how to stand sturdy. But that doesn’t mean I’ve hardened my heart.” 

14. “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”

Brave Enough To Try Dolly Parton Quoterd.com, Getty Images (2)

15. “They think I’m simpleminded because I seem to be happy. Why shouldn’t I be happy? I have everything I ever wanted and more. Maybe I am simpleminded. Maybe that’s the key: simple.”

She may call herself simple, but Dolly’s wisdom and strength are palpable in her reflections. After you’re done enjoying these Dolly Parton quotes, don’t miss these strength quotes.

Funny Dolly Parton quotes

16. “People say how you stay looking so young? I say, well, good lighting, good doctors, and good makeup.”

17. “I was the first woman to burn my bra—it took the fire department four days to put it out”

18. “I’m not offended by all of the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb…and I also know that I’m not blonde.”

19. “People say I look so happy; and I say, ‘That’s the Botox.’”

20. “My husband calls me ‘catfish.’ He says I’m all mouth and no brains.”

21. “I just don’t have time to get old!”

22. “When I talk to a man, I can always tell what he’s thinking by where he’s looking. If he’s looking at my eyes, he’s looking for intelligence. If he’s looking at my mouth, he’s looking for wisdom. If he’s looking anywhere else except my chest, he’s looking for another man.” 

23. “I have little feet because nothing grows in the shade.”

24. “I have pretty good skin considering my age, and I think a lot of it is mineral oil and bacon grease.”

25. “When I’m older, I’ll be like all those old haggard ladies that write their life stories about all the men they slept with and all…not that they shouldn’t. But they’re right to wait so long, ’cause if you start too soon tellin’ about who all you slept with, you’re gonna run into a lot of guys that don’t want to take a chance on makin’ your next book.”

26. “I know some of the best Dolly Parton jokes. I made ’em up myself.”

Self Made Woman Dolly Parton Quoterd.com, Getty Images (2)

27. “I am a self-made woman, and I have the doctor bills to prove it.”

28. “They got me busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.”

29. “Yes, I support gay marriage. They have every right to be as miserable as straight people.”

30. “When I was with Andy Warhol, I thought, ‘God, his wig looks cheaper than mine!’”

If these Dolly Parton quotes tell us one thing about the star, it’s that she sure isn’t afraid to tell it like it is! Check out these truth quotes for a longer meditation on honesty.