"I was gaudy when gaudy wasn’t cool," Dolly Parton reflects in a new article for Blackbook. At 65, the country music legend still maintains her signature style, flashy as it may be to some -- but she says she didn't always love her look. Above all else, Parton stresses she's the original "gaudy," and was pushing buttons before the days of Lady Gaga.

"Before Gaga I was Ga-udy," Parton says, though she loves the 'Born This Way' singer. "I was being outrageous even before Madonna. Eventually people realize that there’s a brain under this hair, and a heart under these boobs, but I also like being a character that they can enjoy. It makes it kind of fun when I do get out on stage and tell my real story, and they get to see the real me."

When Parton was first diving into her career as a country star, her elders warned her that she wouldn't be taken seriously as a singer-songwriter because she was too flashy and in-your-face, and the scene wasn't warm to someone like her. Still, Parton persevered, and she found herself more comfortable in her skin when her skin was embellished by breast implants and big hair. "I’m happier when I look the way I look because I’m no radiant natural beauty," she reveals. "I found a way to make myself be comfortable with me, and it works."

She continues, "I’ve always been, at least somewhere inside me, the country girl who wants to be pretty. I make jokes about myself before other people can make them about me, and I think that must stem from some sort of insecurity. It’s like that song ['Backwoods Barbie'] on my last album: “I’m just a backwoods Barbie, too much makeup, too much hair. But don’t be fooled by thinking that the goods are not all there.” People always ask me, 'Do you think you’ll ever tone down your look?' And I say, 'Well, hell no! Why should I?'"

Despite the advice she received as a girl, Parton has found a place inside of her that feels right, and what you see is what you get. But don't let the recognizable Tennessee girl's sparkling additions fool you. She's as authentic as they come: "I’m a very artificial-looking person, but I’m a very real person."

Parton's new album, 'Better Day,' is expected to drop this summer.

Watch Dolly Parton's Pop-Up 'Dolly' Video