Dolly Parton, Sandra Oh, Simone Biles and America’s Teachers named ‘People’ magazine’s People of the Year
Written by Stephen Iervolino on December 2, 2021
People magazine is releasing four covers for its 2021 year-end wrap-up, and each hails one of its People of the Year: Dolly Parton, Killing Eve‘s Sandra Oh, Simone Biles and “America’s Teachers” were all given the honor this year.
In the issue, which hits newsstands Friday, the iconic Parton was heralded for her philanthropy. Late last year she gave a million bucks to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University to fund research for the Moderna vaccine. In October, flood-ravaged middle Tennessee benefited from $700,000 from her Dollywood Foundation, and her literacy effort, Imagination Library, has donated more than 170 million books to kids since it launched in 1995.
“I’m kind of addicted to the feeling of giving,” Parton tells the magazine.
The country legend admits, “I have to honestly tell you, I was a little bit skeptical of being put on the cover as one of the People of the Year, because that’s a lot of pressure.” She adds, joking, “I’m glad that I stand for enough stuff to where I’m not the worst person in the world.”
Biles was hailed for bringing mental health to the forefront, when she decided to sit out part of the Tokyo Olympics.
“That’s probably one of the first times in my career where I felt courageous and I felt like I had got to speak up for myself,” the athlete, considered the Greatest of All Time in gymnastics, explains. “I fought hard. I survived.”
Oh talked about wrapping up her Emmy-winning run Killing Eve, and boosting representation for Asian performers like herself.
“When I was growing up, I never saw my face on [People],” she says. “To be asked to be on the cover is a great privilege because it normalizes things for my nephews and nieces.”
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