You have provided an excellent education for youth through Imagination Library support to give free books to children around the world. Why is this cause so close to your heart?
I started [that job] because my own father couldn’t read or write. He has a family , he still managed to feed us. My dad is really smart – I used to imagine what his life would be like if he was [literate]. So, I think it would be a good thing to do something for him. He was always delighted to hear the children call me “Miss Reading.” Whenever something like [this Carnegie Medal] happens in my career, I always think my parents would be proud of me.
You have been using your platform, this is not something you have to do thing. Where do you think your focus on philanthropy came from?
I am in a very open, faith-based family middle-aged. You are taught to love and receive, and to give more than you get. Both sides of my family are good, funny, good-hearted people. Whether you believe in God or not, keep your feet on the ground; you need to believe in something greater than yourself. We grow up thinking that other people are just as important as we are. I wrote a song that will be featured in my December Christmas movie special. It says, “Whoever you are, just do it. Whatever you do, do it that way. Anything else is just an act.”
when I was able to do it on a larger scale, I did. It means a lot to me. How hard can I be proud of Imagination Library knowing that I’m helping put books into the hands of children around the world? It’s more about kids learning to read – it’s a fact that they’re recognized. They received this little book in the mail with their little name on it, and they felt special. They start to be proud of themselves, and they know there are people out there thinking about [them].
You also did some great things through your Dollywood foundation Work. What is your proudest achievement through this organization?
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I started Dollywood [amusement park] parks before I even had it. When I got my first job at
The Porter Wagoner Show , I started giving out scholarships at Sevier County High School. When Gatlinburg burned down, we were already doing things like helping people [in 634]; There are many people who have lost their homes and businesses. We have purchased equipment and uniforms for the school.
You help spearhead Moderna’s COVID- Vaccine research was conducted at a time when it was easy to hide under the covers. Why do you feel the need to stand up?
Well, when something terrible happens I won’t hide under the covers! That’s just the weirdest thing – a plague that will wipe us off the face of the earth. I try to align my heart with what’s going on, as well as my eyes and ears, so when I start hearing and seeing all these things, I feel like I need to do something. I don’t know what exactly
to is going to do, but I think one thing we can do is find a vaccine – try Stop it, or stop it from spreading further. My heart and my head say to donate money to try and get vaccinated.
Over the years, I have admired your work on LGBTQ+ rights and Be blunt about the need to accept. Did you feel the love from that community?
absolute! You get what you give. Myself, I’ve always been weird; I’ve gotten a lot of criticism for being gorgeous on the field. I was also bullied a lot as a kid, so I know what it feels like to be unaccepted. [Many people] who work with me are gay, lesbian, transgender – they are also my best friends. I have always been very open. People are them. I try to find the light of God in everyone. The world is hard enough, so we should at least help others be themselves. No matter what your parents say, or what others say, you are who you are. This is how you should be.
It’s still an odd time in this country, especially in a political environment. What’s your secret to staying positive and optimistic?
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I just wrote a song about this. It talks about how you can’t handle this pressure. It hurts me too – I’m not fit to freak out a lot, but that doesn’t mean I don’t keep in touch! It’s like the world is on fire, what do we do when everything burns down? How do we bridge this huge gap? Do we care enough to try? Can’t we go beyond and express some love? I really think we’re in a dangerous situation because people aren’t even paying attention, they don’t even seem to care. thats the scary part – they’re just locked in their own little world inside. This is not a good way of life. So I just try to stay positive. I try to put more good stuff out there and write songs that make people think and pay attention.