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Dolly Parton has absolutely made the most out of the last two years. The 75-year-old superstar released her first fragrance in July 2021, she teamed up with bestselling author James Patterson to co-author a novel, Run, Rose, Run, about a young singer on the run, out this March, and she even wrote an album inspired by the novel. If that’s not enough, she also won her 11th Grammy award, released her first duet with country singer Reba McEntire, and most recently was named one of People Magazine’s 2021 People of the Year.
And there’s a lot more to come from the iconic country musician, who insists age is nothing but a number and it has no bearing on what you can accomplish. “I’ve learned that being 75 is not as bad as I thought it might be when you think about numbers,” she said in her interview with People. “I think I’ve been surprised at how excited I still am and how motivated I still am and how I didn’t let the number slow me up any. I think I was just surprised at the number that I could actually be 75 years old.”
She added the caveat, “Of course you’d like to stay young forever, but you can’t. But you can stay young in thought, in spirit, and not dwell on the number.”
Parton confirmed to fans that from fragrances and theme parks, to books and new music, there’s a lot more up her sleeve when it comes to building her empire. "I keep dreaming myself into a corner!" Parton said. “But I can't stop now. I've learned you can't just say, ‘Oh, my dream's come true and I'm walking out of here.’ No, you've got to show you're grateful and show that you're not going to just leave it all in the hands of other people. So, I'm going to be right here, doing what I'm doing, ’til I fall over dead.”
The singer is especially interested in contributing to society in any way she can. Like many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic left Parton feeling the need to help. So, the 9 to 5 singer decided to donate one million dollars to the Vanderbilt University medical center in late 2020 to support research.
“If you’re in a position to help, you should help. And it makes you feel better, it does a lot of good, and it makes you feel like you’re giving back,” she said. “It makes my heart feel good that I can do something for someone else. I’m kind of addicted to the feeling of giving.”
Parton didn’t know at the time, but her donation would help fund Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine research, which she received soon after in a video she posted to social media to encourage others to get their vaccine.
“I’ve gotten far more credit than I deserve, I’m sure. But I’m just happy to have played a small part in that,” she said in the video interview.
Once the vaccine was available, Parton was one of the first in line to get the vaccine and encourage others to get theirs as well. “At that time I know when I had got my first shot I had said, “don’t be a chicken squat, get on out and get your shot,’ encouraging people to get it, I thought people were just waiting in line, everybody, to get it once it was out there,” she said.
But Parton soon discovered that many Americans had hesitations about getting their vaccines, and she chose to take a step back from publicly promoting them. She noted she only wishes that Americans can learn to work together to solve their different opinions instead of letting it divide them. “When things are bad, I pray. And when things get worse, I pray harder,” she said. “Of course you’re allowed your own beliefs or your own faith or whatever. But you don’t have to use that as a weapon when it could be a tool.”
The Jolene singer is no stranger to philanthropy. Her Dollywood Foundation also raised $700,000 for flood victims after devastating storms in Tennessee and her Imagination Library project hit 170 million book donations to young children to promote literacy.
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