Nuclia (yes, darling, you can call her by her first name) normally has her vibrant green hair in a massive bouffant style, although occasionally a plume of curls tops off her bright pink and green eye shadow that only enhances her golden sparkles of her mustache. She often matches her dresses that are covered in vivid bright shapes with her ‘radioactive’ clutch held low enough so as to not tangle in her fried egg pan or perhaps on another day, hot dog earrings. She is unconventional to say the least.
And while this endless energetic beauty shocks, stuns and delights crowds at special events across Colorado and the U.S., the heart of David Westman (the man himself) remains compassionately just below the surface of the first layer of blush.
Westman, Creative Director at Eagle xm, a Denver marketing group, created Nuclia Waste over ten years ago “when I retired from Rodeo.” One of the rodeo events included the wild drag race and that is where Westman discovered the Nuclia within himself. “I saw a chance to raise money for charity,” such as the Mile Hi Hair Ball that Westman founded that supports Project Angel Heart.
That is only the beginning of this outrageous character’s hard work to reach out and help others. Get to know this man, who is more surprising than Nuclia Waste herself, and you’ll find a caring, compassionate and endlessly dedicated individual who never stops giving to others….oh, and never stops having a good time.
You attended St. Henry’s, which is a Seminary?
Yes, it was a great school. All of us didn’t fit in at regular schools; there we were accepted for who we are. We came to love ourselves. It was there that I learned about giving back to the community and helping others.
You are in graphic design and photography. What other art do you do?
Well now (becoming Nuclia Waste) I’m my own canvas; my art is me!
And the cows…? (Westman’s cow design was selected for the Denver CowParade.)
I had seen the project in Chicago. As an artist I was in awe. I've always wanted to do a piece of cow art. It took a month to glue on all the flowers for “Moo-tanical Gardens. (Be sure to look up Westman’s site for photos of his cow project.)
We understand you are the founder of SQREAM.
It stands for Scooter Queers Riding Everywhere and More. The group is open to all gay and lesbian scooter riders and their friends and we get together once a month for fun rides in the city. Denver has a very large scooter community. I put it up on a website and now there are groups in across the U.S.
Does SQREAM benefit non-profits?
We hold the Colorado Chaos Scooter Rally that benefits a different charity each year. In 2008 it was Fired Up that benefitted the Denver Firefighters Burn Foundation and in 2009, Go Green that helped the Denver Urban Gardens.
You were the 2002 Mr. Colorado Gay Rodeo Association and in 2003 Mr. International Gay Rodeo Association.
It was a public quest. My talent was trick roping, I was interviewed about the history of the Association, and I had to demonstrate my horsemanship, such as riding in a pattern. I also did calf roping, steer wrestling, steer riding, goat dressing, which is when two people catch a goat and put a pair of briefs on it. There is also steer decorating where you have to tie a ribbon to the tail of a steer and one of my favorites, the Wild Drag Race, when a team of three work to have one, in drag, ride a steer in a race. That’s the second most dangerous, behind steer wrestling.
Nuclia really came into her own after you retired from rodeo. Why have you made her so prominent in our community?
I realized that I’m talented, but I had been limiting myself. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there. I wanted to give back and volunteer. I thought, why limit Nuclia Waste to only the gay community? I decided that I wanted to make Nuclia Waste Denver’s drag queen.
When you become Nuclia Waste, do you find you become someone other than yourself?
Oh, yes. I say things aloud that I would normally just think. I’ve seen a night and day transformation. But then, we all dress in formal drag; we behave differently in different clothing. Nuclia Waste is kind hearted and non-judgmental.
What are some of the organizations has Nuclia Waste helped?
The Mile Hi Hair Ball for Project Angel Heart, the Mask Project for the Denver Hospice, Bingo Ball for Howard Dental Center, and when Nuclia Waste was the auctioneer for the Human Rights Campaign, I raised $10,000 in ten minutes.
What message does Nuclia Waste bring to people?
It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. If you live like that, you’ll be happy and smiling. If I can make one person smile each day, I’ve done my job.
And what does David Westman say?
I’m a child at heart. People get boring when they let their inner child die.