Superstar singer Dolly Parton wants no part in celebrity culture.
The 75-year-old American singer was recently named one of People magazine's 2021 People of the Year but despite the achievement, Dolly insists she isn’t “all that”.
“I have to honestly tell you, I was a little bit sceptical of being put on the cover as one of the People of the Year.
“Because that's a lot of pressure. But, yeah, it's like, I am not all that. I'm glad that I stand for enough stuff that I'm not the worst person in the world.
“But I don't want to be worshipped, because there's a scripture in my Bible that talks about idol worship.
“And I see that happening all the time with movie stars and these celebrities. People literally worship them more than they worship God. And I just – I cringe at it sometimes.”
The Islands in the Stream singer is, however, happy that her many good deeds and charity work have inspired people around the world.
“If I can set an example, then that's great,” she adds.
In 2020, Dolly donated $1 million (about R16m) to coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University to help fund research for the Moderna vaccine.
“When the pandemic came out I just felt kind of led to do something because I knew something bad was on the rise and I just wanted to kind of help with that,” the singer told UK’s Absolute Radio in August.
“Mine was a small part, of course. I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve. I was happy to be a part of that and to be able to try to stop something in its tracks that’s really become just such a monster for all of us.”
A few years ago, Dolly donated $1m to the Monroe Carell Jr Children’s Hospital and opened a Butterfly Garden for her niece Hannah, who was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 1988.
“I love children. I’ve always been involved in one way or another with children’s charities or with children in general because I love little kids. I’m from a big family of children,” she said. Dolly, and her husband, Carl Dean, who have been married since 1966, do not have any kids of their own.
And while Dolly is great at giving, she's also a great boss. The Jolene singer shared that she tries her best to be fair with her employees.
“I’m a good boss, I think. I try to rule with love and compassion.
“But also, there’s a fine line that says, ‘She’s not a pushover.’ I’m a fair and honest person. I like to be as friendly as I can,” says the owner of Dollywood, a family-friendly amusement park.
The country music queen doesn’t allow people to walk all over her, either. “Some people, I have to kick their ass up one side and down the other because [they] will just not listen.
“And then you do have your creative vampires … A creative vampire is someone who takes your ideas and they claim them as their own, they take them and then they scatter them out.”
Dolly says her strong business sense comes from her father, Robert, and her six brothers.
“I understood and knew the nature of men, so I had no fear of working in that world because I understood it.”