SeeHer Story Honors Country Icon Dolly Parton in Episode 20
Dolly Parton has been working 9 to 5 as the queen of country music for more than five decades.
The singer, songwriter and style icon has blazed a trail to become a country superstar her way, and has used her platform to not only produce some of the world's greatest hits but to be a voice for change and kindness.
This week, SeeHer Story celebrates the music mogul and her passion for music and philanthropy.
Katie Couric Media and PEOPLE partnered to create the second season of SeeHer Story, a weekly digital video series produced to celebrate various female trailblazers from the past 100 years to today.
Parton was the fourth of 12 children born to a poor family in rural Appalachia in 1946.
The singer found her love for music at a young age — she got her first guitar when she was about seven and soon started to write her own songs.
By 10, she was already appearing on local TV and radio.
"I decided early on I loved the music so much, I’m going to going to make it my career and my business," she told Couric in a previous interview.
She made her Grand Ole Opry debut three years later, and by the end of high school, she performed with and became the protégé of country star Porter Wagoner.
By the '70s she had chart-topping singles including "Jolene" and was named the Country Music Association's female singer of the year two years in a row.
Parton, now 74, has won a total of nine Grammys and has been nominated for 49.
She's found success working on the big screen too, starring in films like Straight Talk, Steel Magnolias and Joyful Noise.
Even more, she's a best-selling author; her latest book Songteller hits shelves this month.
In 1986, she opened her own theme park called Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and continues to expand it.
The artist also founded the Dollywood Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the dropout rate in her hometown. It's since evolved into a book-gifting program that’s mailed more than 100 million books to children around the world.
In April 2004, Parton was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress for her philanthropic work.
"Of all the things I’ve done in my life, this is one of the most precious things," Parton said of her foundation.
SeeHer Story will be a regular feature in PEOPLE’s print edition and the weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric.
"SeeHer Story celebrates the important contributions of bold women from the past 100 years who have changed our country forever,” said Couric in a statement. “We hope recognizing them and telling their stories will not only give them their due but will also inspire the next generation of leaders.”
She added, “Together with Meredith and PEOPLE, I’m so excited to bring back a second season of stories of women whose names you may know — and put those whose achievements are not as well-known — front and center so we can celebrate them as well.”
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