It's always a good time to say, "Hello, Dolly."
Mention this to a certain country superstar and she mentions that her Dollyness translates to any hour of the day.
There's the big hair, big bosoms, big lashes and big nails. Everything about Dolly seems larger than life except her waistline which is teeny tiny.
"Darlin', if you come to my door at eight in the morning, what you see right now is what you get, 365 days a year," says Dolly Parton. "You will see the wig, the glitter and the nine-inch nails at that hour."
I just have one question: What if I ring her bell at five to eight?
"Then I'm not answering the door!" whoops 65-year-old Parton in that familiar down home twang.
DOLLY PARTON IN PERSON
Her style is that of an American original. At the Regency Hotel in New York City on a cold winter afternoon to talk about her new musical "A Joyful Noise," Dolly is a slip of a woman in black slacks, a white sequined shirt and a blonde wig that seems to adhere to the motto: The higher the hair, the closer to God.
Ask her how she got the look and it's simple.
"The true story is I've always patterned my look after the town tramp," Parton says with a whooping giggle. "When I was growing up, there was this woman who walked the streets in my town. I thought she was the prettiest thing in the world.
"I can't say her name, but it's enough for you to know that she was absolutely beautiful. I'd say to people, 'Ain't she pretty?' I'd hear back, 'She ain't nothing but trash,'" Parton says, shaking her head.
"At that moment, I knew I wanted to have pretty things, but we couldn't afford it when I was growing up," she says.
Dolly Rebecca Parton was born as one of 12 children to Robert Lee Parton, a tobacco farmer, and Avie Lee Parton. Her childhood wasn't exactly lavish at the family farm in Locust Ridge, Tennessee where the family lived in a one-room cabin.
"I just wanted to be the most beautiful girl in the world, so I'd pick berries and make lipsticks. I'd use matches and draw brows and beauty marks," she says.
The men in her early life didn't cotton to Dolly all dolled up.
"My grandfather was a preacher and he teamed up with my Daddy. Neither of them wanted me to ever wear any makeup, but they couldn't wipe it off me or burn it out of me.
"I was a rebel," Parton says. "I got whipped a lot for just being myself."
DOLLY PARTON BEAUTY SECRETS
These days, she's known for her tiny figure. What are her weight loss secrets? Hint: Don't try this at home.
"I stay so skinny because I starve!" Parton insists. "I gained a bunch of weight when I was middle aged and I knew that I couldn't continue to eat like a country girl anymore.
"Now, I'm just a tiny thing," she says.
Are the rumors true? Is her waist only ten inches around?
"It's much bigger if I eat biscuits," she promises.
In her new movie "A Joyful Noise," Queen Latifah makes fun of Dolly's plastic surgery. Ask her how she feels about the taunts and she says, "My only rule was I gave as good as I got."
She's upfront about getting work done. "I always had nice boobs. I got them doctored some as years when by," she admits.
A JOYFUL NOISE
Her new movie "A Joyful Noise" marks her return to the big screen after a 20 year break since 1992's "Straight Talk."
Dolly plays G.G. Sparrow in the story of a small-town church choir under some internal strife. Dolly wants to sing progressive songs while a choir director played by Queen Latifah fights to stick to the classics.
Dolly says working with Queen Latifah (whose real name is Dana) was a meeting of the minds.
"We're the double D's – Dana and Dolly!" she quips.
"I'll never forget the first day in the recording studio. It was the first time we laid eyes on each other in person and we just went to the mike and started jamming and singing. I thought, 'I just love her,'" Parton says.
"I loved her 'tell it like it is' demeanor," says Queen Latifah.
"Where I'm from, we always tell it like it is," Parton whoops. "Let's be honest here. You can get some Hollywood individuals in a room and you just don't have that thing that clicks.
"We really liked each other. We weren't playing with each other. We just clicked from the beginning," Parton says.
They were still happy enough to engage in a catfight on screen that wasn't for the faint of heart. Nails fly, hair is pulled and Parton's plastic surgeries are comic fodder.
"That fight was such good fun and that showed on camera," Parton says. "We shot it for a whole day and we were in deep by the end of the day. I was worn out, but I was also ready to get down and dirty.
"We were even on the floor sliding around in spaghetti," Parton says. "It was so much fun to get down and dirty at this age."