Kellie Pickler On Being A ‘Tomato’: ‘There Are Bigger Issues Going On In The World’

Kellie Pickler isn’t interested in getting caught up in the great #SaladGate controversy that was sparked back in May. She has more important things to worry about — like her goal of eventually cashing out to “help the world.” The American Idol alum told Rolling Stone it’s time to get back to what really matters.

“It’s imperative that we get back to the basics. Get back to what matters and what’s really important. Not our shoes, not our hair, not our makeup. Can’t take it with ya. I do my job as a vehicle to get me in the door so I can be a part of people’s lives and make a difference.”

The #SaladGate debate started with an insensitive comment from radio consultant Keith Hill while giving programming advice to industry insiders. The self-proclaimed “world’s leading authority on radio programming” said if stations want higher ratings, they need to play fewer songs by female artists. He went on to elaborate that men are the “lettuce” of the country music salad while women are the tomatoes. “If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out,” Hill said, reasoning that listeners are mostly women, and “women like male artists.”

“Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.”

Keith Hill’s comments sparked outrage among many of country music’s leading ladies, including, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles, and Miranda Lambert, who called it “the biggest bunch of bull****” she’d ever heard.

Kellie Pickler has a different perspective on the issue. She feels fighting to be heard on the radio is “good problem to have” compared to the struggles of other women around the world. The “Feeling Tonight” singer would rather focus on her passion for supporting the military — for which she was just honored with the Operation Troop Aid Chris Kyle Patriot Award. She and her husband have even bigger dreams for paying it forward around the world, possibly building some orphanages.

“There are bigger issues going on in the world than being called a tomato. I’ve been called worse! If our biggest thing is fighting to get on the radio, then that’s a good problem to have, considering what other women are dealing with around the world, who would do anything to trade problems with women in country music.”

You’ll be able to see much more of Kellie Pickler when her new reality show, I Love Kellie Pickler, airs in September on CMT. She will star alongside her husband, songwriter and producer, Kyle Jacobs, and the series will give a glimpse into their life together. They hope the show does well and allows them to further their philanthropic endeavors.

“We would love for the show to create an empire so we can go all around the world and make a difference.”

[Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]