Dolly Parton sings country hits like “Jolene,” writes acclaimed songs like Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” and acts in popular films like Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5. It’s hard to imagine another artist so aptly living up to her Typefinder moniker: The Performer. Her bold personality and big heart have made her universally beloved in Hollywood, Nashville and beyond.
Warm, artistic and spirited, Dolly Parton is an ESFP and Enneagram Type Two. Here’s more about her genuine personality type.
Enneagram Type Two: The Giver
Dolly Parton has a huge heart, quintessential of an Enneagram Two (a.k.a. The Giver). Born the fourth of 12 children in Pittman Center, Tennessee, her family had very little money and she helped raise her younger siblings. As her star rose, this natural caretaker continued to give back to many philanthropic efforts, including her role with the Imagination Library, which donates books to young children until the age of five.
Though she doesn’t have kids of her own, Dolly has remained close to her siblings’ children; they call her “aunt grandma.” She thinks it was meant to be this way. “I think it probably was [God’s] plan for me not to have kids so everybody's kids could be mine,” she’s said. “And they are now.” Here’s more about Dolly’s Two personality.
Outwardly: Spotting the Two
- Approachable. Twos are open-hearted, kind, and welcoming. We rarely see Dolly without a smile — which is strongly indicative of a Two.
- Compassionate. Twos tend to have an activist or philanthropic streak, and like to create good in the world. Among other causes, Dolly has supported global health initiatives, Black communities, LGBTQ, Save the Music and childhood diabetes efforts.
- Committed. Empathetic and caring, this type tends to go out of their way to help others and they tend to invest a lot in their relationships. It’s no surprise Dolly has been married to her husband, Carl Dean, for 55 years.
- Likeable. With their engaging personalities, Twos tend to vibe with many different groups and are often popular.
- Happy. They tend to smile and radiate positive vibes — which can sometimes cause other types to question them. But take it from Dolly: “They think I’m simpleminded because I seem to be happy,” she said. “Why shouldn’t I be happy? I have everything I ever wanted and more. Maybe I am simpleminded. Maybe that’s the key: simple.”
Inwardly: Three Traits of the Two
- Interconnected. They feel very close to friends and family, and crave feeling that connection on a consistent basis.
- Preoccupied. They worry that they aren’t loved, or will be left on their own.
- Patient. They are willing to put effort into relationships and work to see things come to fruition -- even through hardships. “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain,” she has said.
TypeFinder ESFP: The Performer
Dolly certainly knows how to work a room or a crowd. Known for her gregarious, warm-hearted personality, she’s a true extravert who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. “When I got somethin’ to say, I’ll say it,” she has said.
Pragmatic and grounded, Dolly has used her image and work ethic to rise to the top of her field. She also enjoys strong, sensory experiences. "I make a point to appreciate all the little things in my life. I go out and smell the air after a good, hard rain,” Dolly wrote in her book, Dream More. "These small actions help remind me that there are so many great, glorious pieces of good in the world."
Dolly makes decisions with her heart, whether that’s deciding not to have kids (and embracing others’ children) or her longtime philanthropic efforts. She was widely hailed for helping to fund Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, speeding up the timeline to launch.
Dolly knows how to go with the flow, and she isn’t afraid to chart a new course — the sign of a flexible perceiver. “If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one,” she has said.
ESFP Cognitive Functions
Se: Dolly has a flair for fashion. With her glittery clothes and platinum blonde hair, she knows what she likes and pours energy into her appearance — without apology. “People say how you stay looking so young?” she said. “I say, well, good lighting, good doctors, and good makeup.”
Fi: Introverted Feelers are deeply authentic, and must honor their feelings to be fulfilled. Dolly’s a proponent for embracing your truest self. One of her most famous lines is, “Find out who you are, and do it on purpose.”
Te: Extraverted Thinkers lean into logic that creates results. Although Dolly is known for being warm, cheerful and feminine, she’s not foolish. “You know, I look like a woman, but I think like a man,” Dolly has said. “And in this world of business, that has helped me a lot. Because by the time they think that I don’t know what’s goin’ on, I then got the money, and am gone.”
Ni: Inferior introverted intuition means ESFPs like Dolly struggle making firm plans and following through on the actions to get there. They prefer to go with the flow, and focus on the here and now. For instance, Dolly has shared her disdain for dieting. “I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book,” she said.” I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”
Fast Facts about ESFPs
- ESFPs are 9% of the population; 7% of men, and 10% of women
- Score high on these traits: Changeable, Energetic, Forceful, Initiating, and Resourceful
- Among the most likely of all types to stay in college
- One of the types with the highest marital satisfaction
- One of the types with the lowest income
- At work, frequently happy with co-workers but less so with job security, stress, salary, and accomplishment