10 Things Creator Bilal Baig Can’t Live Without

Bilal Baig, the co-creator and lead actor of the critically acclaimed CBC series Something like, you are drawn to the unexpected. The show of him, which was newly renewed for a third season, eschews television stereotypes with Baig’s character, Sabi Mehboob, by portraying a more nuanced representation of transgenderism. “For a while I felt that trans people, and trans people of color in particular, are not given the space to be slower, more contemplative or calm,” she says. “We’re not always 100 percent ‘on’ and we’re fabulous and quirky.”

Thanks to its refreshingly nuanced narrative approach, Something like has resonated with audiences and critics. Since its initial release in October 2021, the series has racked up a long list of accolades, including three Canadian Screen Awards and a prestigious Peabody. Here, 10 things that keep Baig feeling inspired to continue to push the boundaries in the Canadian television industry.


Baig was recently a guest at the Toronto based podcast, which serves as a space for in-depth discussions with queer and trans artists from BIPOC communities. Guided by host Umang Antariksh Sagar, the episodes cover a range of topics including self-love, disability advocacy, and grief. “Umang is gentle and intelligent, and the conversations feel organic, so I like listening to them as much as participating in them,” says Baig.

(image: Possibilities Podcast)

On Earth we are briefly beautiful by Ocean Vuong

“I cried several times reading this book. It made me feel a lot and I was very thankful for that,” says Baig. The novel, which explores themes of love, race, class, and masculinity, does not follow a typical narrative structure, instead combining different genres and styles of writing. “They just did their thing, and I thought that was pretty inspiring.”

(image: Penguin Random House)


Because her job involves being on television and promoting her show on social media, Baig says technology inevitably plays a big role in her work life. However, they actually feel more inspired when they’re offline. I’m from another era, sorry. Even though I’m a millennial, I have a pretty non-existent relationship with my phone.” Instead, they like to go for walks and be surrounded by nature whenever they can.

(image: apple)


While visiting the metropolis to promote the second season of Something like on HBO Max, where he broadcasts for his American audience, Baig was inspired by the hustle and bustle of the city. “There is so much going on and there is so much character and culture,” they say, adding that strangers enthusiastically approached them to congratulate them on their work. “It was kind of charming and invigorating all at once. I like places that host crowds.”

(Photo: Fred Hsu, Wikimedia Commons)

Anthropologie Pilcro Pant

Comfortable. Versatile. Structured, but not tight to the body. Baig says his closet is full of variations on this loose, wide-leg trouser style, citing a particular penchant for Anthropologie’s Pilcro collection. “They are cool and stylish, but also practical and comfortable; you can move with them, which is important when you’re working on set,” she says.

(photo: Anthropology)

chicken biryani

“Comfort matters a lot to me, particularly in relation to creativity,” says Baig. They get much of that comfort from their favorite foods, saying nostalgic Indian and Pakistani dishes from their childhood, like chicken biryani, help put them at ease and ground them to tap into creative inspiration.

(photo: iStock)

Artwork by Harmeet Rehal

He Toronto artist creations have been a big part of Baig’s professional journey, from the book cover to his work acha bacha in 2020, to the fund set of Something like the first season, right down to the pieces hanging in Baig’s Toronto apartment. “I love the individuality of him,” they say. “They encompass many colors and shapes. I love how expressive his art is. He feels dreamy and intense.”

(Illustration: Harmeet Regal)

“Pick Me Up” by Rihanna

When the singer released her first single after six years in October, Baig was bursting with creative energy. “I spent the night listening to it on repeat, crying,” she says. “Rihanna’s voice is powerful.”

(image: Def Jam recordings)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Live Broadcasts

The American politician and activist is known for her lengthy Q&A-style live videos on Instagram, where she addresses a variety of topics, from taxing the rich to climate change. “As soon as I get a notification about a new IG Live, I jump on it,” says Baig. “I love hearing people talk about what matters to them.”

(photo: Franmarie Metzler; US House of Representatives Office of Photography)

Giving back

Baig works with Toronto nonprofits Story Planet and Paprika Festival, where they facilitate creative writing and literacy workshops. “I think they do some really amazing work in their specific communities. It inspires me to give back more.”

(image: Paprika Festival)

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