Star images are elaborate constructions, characterised by their inclusion ofdiverse and potentially contradictory elements. In addition to, and indeed framing, any other specific performances, from movie roles or cameos, to public appearance and interviews, stars always ‘perform’ their star image. Through their performance stars constitute themselves in terms of particular identities, touching on and operating across social and cultural differences. All publicity feeds the star image, planned or unplanned; everything is ultimately managed, incorporated in some way. In his Vanity Fair profile of Dolly Parton, Kevin Sessums observes that the star ‘has been so successful in packaging herself that now when we see her on-screen we do not see a character other than “Dolly Parton”’. Parton tells her interviewer, ‘Look, I’ve always said that when I find something greater than “Dolly Parton”, then I’ll certainly play her’.1 Her comment draws on, develops and confirms aspects of the Parton persona. Her pleasure in the role of ‘Dolly Parton’ and the artifice of that performance are simultaneously evoked. Her remarks are further framed by the peculiar combination of the artificial (constructed, marketed) and the direct ‘simplicity’ that characterises not only Parton, but country and western and even, to an extent, Hollywood itself. The foreword to her autobiography also addresses the reader in these terms:

It is up to you to be the best…you can be. If I can help in any way, then I feel good about taking your money for this book. If I don’t help, I still feel okay about taking your money because I think you will at least be entertained. Besides, I need the money. As I always say, ‘It costs a lot to make a person look this cheap’.