Country legend Dolly Parton has defended her flamboyant image insisting songwriters don't "have to be ugly". The blonde 9 TO 5 singer is fiercely proud of her doll-like good looks and glamorous wardrobe, even though some critics refuse to take her music seriously because of it. But Parton is adamant image and credibility can go hand-in-hand. She says, "I feel fortunate that I've had a lot of songs recorded by other people, because I take my songwriting very seriously. It's only those people that have followed me over the years and really know my work that know how serious I am about all of it - including the way I look. "You can't take my high heels from me, you can't have my long fingernails, you can't take all this hair from me, because it's part of this thing that I've become. I wouldn't want to give any of it up. "Do I have to be ugly to be a songwriter? This is the way I am, and it's what I choose to be."