Raya: Tinder For Famous And Beautiful People
I scored an invite to the super-exclusive "Tinder for celebs", and I'm sorry to have to tell you that swiping on famous people is way more fun.
As first published on Goat.
A couple of years ago now, a TV host I know based in LA messaged me telling me I needed to get on Raya.
“I’ve already got Tinder, and Bumble, and Happn, and Instagram….and I’m still single AF,” I told him. “I don’t think I really need another dating app.”
“Trust me,” he said. “You’ll want to be on this one.”
A dating app like no other, Raya is more like a secret society: harder to get into than NASA and more exclusive than Soho House. It’s basically all of the above apps, but better – because the Raya dating pool is, by design, a bit less public-facility and a bit more Gatsby-glam-with-a-famous-guest-list.
You need to know somebody already on the app in order to even be considered. The more references, the better.
I shrugged, downloaded it, tapped in all my details including my Instagram handle (important as you’re judged not only on your content but how many followers you have) and listed my TV-star mate as my reference.
I was then told I’d be notified should my application be successful.
I had to be accepted onto this app? Well, this changes everything. Now I didn’t want anything more in the world than to be allowed into the cool group.
A few nervous days went by and after some constant refreshing I received a message telling me I had been accepted.
I was in. I had been given the password to the secret dating club for the rich and famous. I had fooled them all!
You see, whilst they may sell it as a “dating app for people in the creative industry”, what they really mean is “a dating app for beautiful and famous people.”
Raya puts Tinder to shame. From famous actors to DJs, restaurateurs to professional athletes, every single swipe brings you another supremely attractive or very successful singleton.
The rules of Raya are similar to that of Fight Club: do not talk about it. The guys behind the app have never done any promo or marketing for it. No ads. No fancy social media campaigns. Why? Because they don’t want people to find out about it. Unless you’re the right ‘kind’ of people.
In fact, if you try to screenshot anything, you get a pop-up notification with a warning that your IP address has been recorded. And every screen on the app has your Instagram handle watermarked in the background – so if something gets out, they know who leaked it.
I guess it’s to protect the A-listers’ privacy and keep the whole thing as exclusive as possible but boy, I really shat my pants the first time I got busted.
Also, unlike other dating apps, Raya asks you to create your profile by selecting a number of photos and then choosing a song to play in the background of your video or slideshow.
(Side note: I cannot stress enough the importance of the song. Men, I’ve found, tend to go one of three ways when it comes to their song selection. They either pick something very out-there and obscure, something ridiculously high-brow and classical, or they go for the gag track. Dillon Francis used to have ‘Stop’ by The Spice Girls. Last time I checked he’s repping the Seinfield theme song.)
So who else exactly is on this magical unicorn of a dating app?
Some of the people I’ve come across include Lewis Hamilton, McLovin, the little kid from Jerry Maguire (who’s now 27, because time is linear, people) and about 90% of the cast from shows such as Teen Wolf, The 100 and 13 Reasons Why. Oh, and most of the NBA.
I’m not saying James Harden is on there, but not saying he’s not either. Source: Giphy
Rumors have it hotshots such as Cara Delevingne, Teri Hatcher and even Moby are also fans of the AAA app. I once stumbled across the CEO of Firefox and one of the Winklevoss twins. (Hard to say which one.)
Now for the cons. Yes, there are cons.
Unlike most dating apps, Raya isn’t geo-targeted, which means you can match and be talking to people in LA, Paris or Johannesburg. Which is great, if you spend your life travelling to all these fun, exotic cities. However if you’re like me – rich in Insta followers, but really just a gal with a lot of free time on a Friday night looking for someone to share a bottle of red with over a bowl of pasta and some sort of chocolate dessert –Raya can get pretty frustrating pretty quickly.
What’s the use of making a connection with someone halfway across the world? I don’t want a pen pal, I want a partner.
And that’s if you even get past “Hey.” Something a lot of Raya users lament is the fact that nobody bloody talks to you! Everyone is wanting the ego boost of a high-profile match but it seems nobody actually has the time for a chat…or any interest in meeting anybody in real life.
At least on Tinder you get the rather romantic “U out this weekend?”
But is the secret society dating app worth the membership fee (one month is $7.99, three months is $23.99, and six months is $29.99)?
On a trip to LA I ended up catching up with one of my matches, a DJ and music producer. I won’t mention names for fear of being likened to Taylor Swift but he suggested we go bowling with a group of his friends and we ended up back at a pool party held at his fuck-off castle of a house until the sun came up. It was the stuff you only see in the movies, and up there with one of the best nights of my life.
And while that won’t happen every time, it’s hands-down less bleak overall. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be sending nudes to Flume than Baz from the burbs.