Some might see that as a bit of a curveball. Vanna White is a relatively reserved person in the media, while Dolly Parton lives and breathes it. But that distinct difference doesn’t really matter when White hadn’t reached stardom.
In an interview with Believer, Vanna White was asked about if she had anyone she was “taking note of their choices and their career in relation” to her own. The answer took writer Leopoldine Core back.
“Well, when I was younger, I always looked up to Dolly Parton,” White answered.
Considering that White hails from the deep south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, it makes sense she was watching Dolly growing up. Before Dolly became the multicultural icon she is today, she was making her name through her music mostly.
The 1980s exploded her into full stardom with productions like 9 to 5, but that was also when Vanna White first got her role on Wheel of Fortune.
Interestingly enough, White also listed a couple other Outsider favorites in her follow-up answer.
Wheel of Fortune Star Vanna White Wanted to Be Marcia Brady
“I loved [Dolly Parton’s] heart,” White said. “She was so genuine to me. And so sweet. And I always wanted to be either Susan Dey from The Partridge Family, because I had a huge crush on David Cassidy, or Marcia Brady. I liked her just because I liked—I just wanted to be her because she was on The Brady Bunch. I loved that show growing up.”
It comes to no surprise that a teen of the 1960s and 1970s would list off those two programs. Smash hits in their own right, many people of that era felt the same exact way.
However, White does draw back to her answer of Dolly Parton once again in her ensuing quote. It’s less about Dolly Parton being famous or successful to Vanna White, but more that she did it with her attitude always intact.
“So that’s it, but I would say Dolly Parton would be my biggest inspiration when I was younger,” White continued. “I said, ‘If I ever become famous, I wanna be like her, ’cause I don’t feel that she is affected in any way.'”
It’s an apt summary of Dolly’s image and legacy. Her ability to always look on the bright side and smile is one of the many reasons she has remained a massive part of country music, and entertainment in general.
At the end of the day, White went down a separate path than pure singing and acting. But considering the success of Wheel of Fortune and her near-30 years on the program, we guess she’s got no regrets.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.