With more than 40 albums, 20 number one singles, and the title ‘The Queen of Country’ to her name, Dolly Parton has certainly earned the right to share her thoughts on whatever topic she chooses — and when a British reporter asked her recently to weigh in on Lady Gaga, he could have been looking for nothing more than a few controversial quotes.

Leave it to Dolly, however, to accentuate the positive — and to find common ground with someone who may not appear similar to her.

“Gaga always says, like you do, that she’s not a great beauty. She makes a big show of her body. She also makes a big noise about being artificial,” pointed out the interviewer, adding, “What is it like to be a role model, like you both are, when you flaunt yourselves as you do?”

“Well, that’s what’s working for her,” responded Dolly. “It’s not that everybody should try and be like Lady Gaga, or me, or Madonna, or anyone. That’s not the message. I think the true message there is, ‘To thine own self be true.’ And I’m not saying everyone should wear meat on their head. Or a wig. Or have t*** that are too big for their body! But it’s all about your personal choices, your personal needs, according to your own personality. And I know for myself, I feel good dressing the way that I dress. This is how I think I look, and am, my best.”

Dolly also expressed admiration for Madonna and Beyonce, saying, “They’re all women doing great, making their individual statements. I admire more their guts than the music, necessarily, their sisterly approach.”

If Dolly, who has also openly mused recently about possibly recording a duet with Lady Gaga, has what might be a surprising level of awareness about contemporary artists, it might be because she doesn’t dwell on her age. “I don’t feel old,” she said during the interview. “And I don’t think I look old, or as old as I probably am, because I’ve tried to see to that! I’m a cartoon. I don’t think cartoons ever grow old.”

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