Similar to other dating apps that we’re all familiar with, the workings of Raya is pretty similar in the sense that you can like accounts, chat with matches and of course, pay extra for more swipes, yep, even the rich have to folk out for new faces
Dubbed the ‘Soho House of dating apps’ and ‘illuminati Tinder’, Raya is a super private, membership only dating and networking app for those in creative industries. Founded in 2015 by Daniel Gendelman, the concept from the get-go was simple, the 36-year-old entrepreneur wanted to create an app that felt like a perfectly curated, intimate yet thoroughly vetted dinner party.
Featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest names, professional athletes, artists, models, CEOs and influencers, according to The New York Times, only about eight percent of those who apply actually get accepted. So, if you’re wondering why you haven’t heard of it over the past seven years of its existence, that’s why. It’s been purposely built to fly under the radar, those in the know, know and those who don’t, more than likely won’t meet the criteria anyways.
With Raya, as you can imagine from its alarmingly small application success rate, it’s not as simple as downloading the app and creating a profile. Then, Raya determines whether or not the applicant in question fits the brand, makes the community more ‘dynamic and diverse’ and gets the seal of approval from the input of ‘hundreds of committee members spread throughout the world’.
The app also notes that those hungry to get accepted could be waiting, with the screening process taking anywhere from a day to months on end. Yep, they’re not lifting that red rope for just anyone, so stand in line.
Once inside however and ‘the result is something like one of those unmarked nightclubs, expect its in your phone, and peppered with vloggers and net artists in addition to models and Disney stars of yore,’ writes journalist for The Cut, Alice Hines.
But unlike other dating apps, Raya’s careful curation means that you need to thread lightly or you could lose your membership. Screenshot a profile on the app, and you’ll get an alert threatening to kick you off, while publicly discussing the app can might result in deactivation, which is why most stay anonymous.
In May of this year, TikTok star Nivine Jay shot to new levels of stardom when she shared a private video Ben Affleck sent her after she unmatched with him on Raya. Taking to TikTok to reminisce, Nivine wrote:
‘Thinking of the time I matched with Ben Affleck on Raya and thought it was fake so I unmatched him and he sent me a video on Instagram.’
Of course, the juicy gossip wasn’t long live before it went viral, with Nivine having to later defend the newly jamaican adult chat room single actor. ‘I’m seeing a lot of comments calling him a creep and l don’t think that’s fair. l wasn’t making fun of him in the video,’ Nivine told E! News. ‘l was making fun of myself for thinking he was a catfish and it was just supposed to be funny.’
Those who believe they stand a chance at finding ‘premium love’ must prove their notability, attach their Instagram handle and fight their corner – figuratively speaking
And although the incident was like catnip to Affleck fans and pop culture diehards, it also provided a solid example as to why Raya strives for a controlled hush around its platform, keeping their members safe from the tabloids. ‘I accidentally took a screenshot the other day and I got a warning, I’m afraid I’m going to be banned,’ one Irish member tells STELLAR. ‘I was looking up one of the guys on Instagram to see who he was and I meant to screenshot his Instagram but I accidentally took a screenshot of his Raya profile instead,’ she confesses. Giving an insight into her experience using the app, she admits that there are lots of professional photos of everyone from sport stars to models, and it doesn’t feel as casual and candid as she would have imagined prior to joining up.