Laurie Swanson Blog

Career + Life Imitating Movies

I recently made a decision that some might consider a bad parenting move.

The actual decision is between my daughter and myself and not necessary to the story but suffice it to say I did not suggest she explore the world of psychedelics or take a job at the “adult photography” studio that just opened up in our town (don’t ask!).  

It was not something that put her in harm’s way.

Still, it was something she wanted to do that was a bit outside the norm of what some people think a parent “should” do.

Movies Give Good Advice

The reason I said yes was, in part, because of the movie “Mrs. Henderson Presents”.

If you have never seen this movie PLEASE watch it.

It came out in 2005 and stars Bob Hoskins and Dame Judi Dench. Enough said!


In order to understand of how I came to say yes to my daughter’s unusual request I will give you an overview of the movie which really does not spoil anything. I will also give you one specific tidbit that might be considered a spoiler but should not keep you from checking out this movie anyway.


Nudity? She’s all for it!

Mrs. Henderson Presents is based on a true story of Laura Henderson (1863-1944). After her husband dies she is faced with what she considered to be the dull life of widowhood. Needlepoint, donating time and lunching with other widows. She realized this was not the life for her.

She made the decision to buy a theater in the west end of London and named it the Windmill Theater after the street it resided on. She hired Vivian Van Damm as the theater manager.  An unlikely partner with whom she did not often see eye to eye.

They opened as a continuously running vaudeville-type theater to some success until others jumped on the bandwagon.  

That is when Mrs. Henderson suggested they bring nudity into the act. Which, in London, was against the law. Mrs. Henderson used her family’s relationship with the local Lord Chamberlain, 2nd Earl of Cromer to take advantage of a loophole in the law that would allow the nudity as long as the women remained completely still like statues in a museum.

World War II was raging but because their auditorium was underground they were able to remain open though other theaters had closed. They flourished, with soldiers lining up around the block to see their nude “statues”.


Movies can change people’s perspective.

I am a sucker for a movie that is based on a true story. To be given a look into a life or time that are beyond my limited experience has a way of expanding my perspective and I think and act differently.

But how does this movie relate to my decision with my daughter and acting differently than I might have before seeing it?

Now the spoiler, what you learn at one point in the film, when they are afraid they will be closed down, is that Mrs. Henderson’s son died at the age of 21 in World War I.

After his death Mrs. Henderson was going through his things when she found a “French postcard”, a small, cardboard picture of a nude woman that many soldiers would take with them to war.

She realized then that her son may have died without ever seeing a live, nude woman. This discovery led her to a radical, outrageous for her time, decision to have nudes at her theater.

She felt that no young man should be asked to possibly give his life in a war without ever having the joy of seeing a nude woman.

This idea changed me and my perspective.

It really cemented in me the idea that life is short and no one knows what is around the corner. 
  • As long as it is legal and safe, say yes to your kids unusual requests.
  • If you have been thinking of taking a sabbatical from work and traveling the world then get that passport ready.
  • Maybe you have been putting off making a job change because you are comfortable yet uninspired-well there is no time like the present to find a job you love.
  • That tattoo-go for it.
  • Skydiving-why not?
  • Cut and color your hair-hell to the yes!
  • Say no to things you do not want and yes to things you do…even if it scares you.
  • Never let someone else’s “you should or shouldn’t” comments get in the way of going after what your gut is telling you to go after.  
Life is meant to be experienced completely, felt deeply and lived fully.

You are the director, screen writer and actor in your movie script.

You are a blockbuster in the making.
And…Action!  I am the mentor and the ally in your film. 

Call me at 630/260-7821 or
email me at

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