RuPaul has long talked about the drag queen we have all come to know (whose name is actually Monster) is a combination of other stars. Though the numbers sometimes change it's a few parts of Diana Ross, Cher, David Bowie, and Dolly Parton. Those figures help to make the drag persona that is become a mainstay of culture, and now, Ru is interviewing Parton in a new Marie Claire cover story.
The pair met over 15 years ago and see what they do as similar in ways — they previously interviewed one another for Dazed Magazine's 25th anniversary issue. As such it was little surprise that for this new chat they discussed their similarities and differences. Namely over wearing wigs and heels.
"People always ask me about how many wigs I have, and I name each of them different names," RuPaul says in the feature. "But my oldest wigs...I have wigs that I still wear that are about 23 years old. Do you have wigs that are that old?"
"I do, but most of them are more museum-type pieces too," Parton responds. "I don’t think I have any that I wear that are that old now, but I know what you mean. See, you’re a drag queen. Those are like costumes to you. This is my living self. I am a living drag queen. You dress up just now and then, but for me, though, I like the wigs and I wear them almost every day. So, people ask me how many wigs I have, I say, 'Well, I must have at least 365,' because I wear one almost every day. But I actually keep my own hair the same color and I just kind of pull it up in little scrunchies around the house. But I still like to put on makeup and have my hair fluffed."
And as for heels? Well, Ru likes to take all of the drag off when she's not in drag and Parton is always in some sort of heel.
The pair also discuss Parton's many projects including The Holly Dolly Christmas album, Netflix's Christmas on the Square as well as Imagination Library. The latter effort, which was launched by Parton in 1990, has given some 150 million books to children globally to help improve literacy in rural communities as where Parton grew up literacy levels were low. There was also a bonding moment over preferring to get up early between the two — Ru is similarly working on a lot of projects. Parton said she is up around 3 a.m. and works on three to five hours of sleep while Ru is up at 4 a.m.
In addition to Ru's questions, Parton answered a few inquiries from RuPaul's Drag Race alum Ginger Minj, Jujubee, Trinity the Tuck, Trixie Mattel, and Alaska — superfans may remember that though Dolly hasn't appeared in person on the show, she did send in a video clip for season 12's finale. Of the questions, Minj asked whether the rumors that Parton wears long sleeves to cover up the fact that she has massive tattoos all over her body are true.
"The rumors are true...kind of," she replied. "I do have some tattoos that are small and tasteful, and I just got them to cover up some scars. Things like butterflies and bows in pretty pastels, but not all over like everyone likes to say."