Dolly Parton may be one of the most recognizable country music figures in the world, but that doesn't mean she takes first impressions too seriously. The iconic singer says she always believes in taking a second look and seeing the good in people.

Parton sat down with lifestyle magazine Woman's Day for their February issue and talked about everything from growing up in the Smoky Mountains to how she doesn't believe in judging people by their first impression.

"They say your first impression of someone is always right, but I've found that that's not true," says the legendary entertainer. "You just don't know. It can be as simple as how a person dresses. You make a judgment about that person, but if you spend a little time, you find that they're different from what you thought, and you forget how they look. I know I look totally artificial, but I'd like to think I'm real where it really counts. It's how people treat one another and what they do and the way they do it -- that's what should matter."

Parton goes on to explain that her commitment to taking a deeper look comes from her firsthand experience of being judged when she was just a kid. She grew up in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where no one in her small town knew what to make of the vibrant personality so many fans love today.

"I had 11 brothers and sisters and no electricity in my home, yet I knew I was gonna be a star," says Parton of her 1950s childhood. "I had a big, outgoing personality and even then I dressed a little bit trashy -- my grandfather, who was a Pentecostal preacher, told me I looked like Jezebel! Some people thought I was a freak, and I was sensitive. But I was always myself -- they couldn't beat it out of me, they couldn't scare it out of me, they couldn't scold it out of me. I just couldn't help it! I didn't know how else to be. Still don't."

For Parton, the pain of being misunderstood from such a young age has served as a strong reminder to always strive to see the good in people.

"When I meet someone, I look at their eyes and their smile and seek out the good first -- it's easy to find when you're looking for it," she says. "You let a person shine with their own light and try to connect it to yours. As soon as I say hello, I go right to that light and I don't care who you are! I know we're all pieces of the same thing -- I go for that common light because I know it's in all of us."

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