From Lewis Capaldi to Channing Tatum, this is what it’s like on celeb dating app Raya
Emma has even matched with Charlie Puth
Raya is an exclusive dating app for the rich and famous, describing itself as an “online membership-community for dating, networking, and making new friends”. To even be considered to set up a Raya profile, one must either be invited by someone who’s already on the app via a “friend pass”, or go through a thorough “multi-faceted” application process, which includes providing a detailed job description and your Instagram credentials, so your content and follower-count can be checked.
According to The New York Times, only about eight per cent of applicants are accepted, making your chances of getting into the Raya dating app even slimmer than those of attending the University of Oxford. But swiping through celebrities, renowned CEOs and A-list athletes is not just a possibility for the rich and famous, 20-year-old student Emma tells us, as she herself has been a member of the exclusive dating site for over a year.
Emma (not her real name), first found out about Raya at the beginning of last year. A friend had mentioned to her that he had filled out an application and was currently on the waitlist, describing the app as a “really upmarket dating app that lots of celebrities use”. Having caught her interest, Emma also filled in an application and was invited to create a profile 24 hours later, once she paid the membership fee of roughly £6 per month.
Once in, the rules are simple with privacy being the main selling point of the application. Take screenshots and risk your profile being banned and don’t disclose private information about other members.
Emma told The Tab: “From what I know, I think it’s probably easier for girls to gain access to the app. I’ve heard that guys are waitlisted for much longer if they even get an invitation at all.
“When I first started using the app at the beginning of last year it was definitely a lot more exclusive than it is now, you would mainly see well-known celebrities and professional athletes, although it wasn’t uncommon to see profiles of influencers every so often.”
Unlike other dating applications like Tinder, Bumble and Hinge, Raya is not location bound and shows you users from all over the world. Vogue writes: “People on Raya don’t take the subway; they fly to meet each other. Or at least, that’s the impression the app wants to give off.” A new updated feature includes a geo-location map so you can see the members that are currently in close proximity to you – a bit like Snapmaps, but classier.
Emma recalls that she set her age range up to “really high” out of curiosity, when she first gained access to the application. Channing Tatum, Owen Wilson and Tom Felton’s profiles are just a few among many of the household names she stumbled upon, opening up a new-found glimpse into all things celebrity, dating and glamour.
Once there’s a match, you have 10 days to message each other before the match runs out and you can’t contact the other person again; a similar expiration feature is also employed on Bumble, although Bumble only allows a window of 24 hours.
Emma describes that her experiences on Raya have shown her that a majority of members are quite obviously not looking for long-term relationships: “I think it’s more to do with hookup culture if I’m honest… I once matched with a well-known professional footballer but didn’t know much about him. We spoke for a while and he asked for my Snapchat, but once I searched him up on Google I found out he had a long-term girlfriend and kids.
“It’s easy to tell what someone’s after when you first start chatting to them, depending on how the conversation goes. You can tell straight away if someone is spending a majority of time talking about themselves and their achievements, or genuinely expresses an interest in your life and wants to know who you are as a person – so it’s obvious if they’re just in it for a hookup.”
Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year, Emma matched with a British actor who stars in a popular Netflix series about teenagers. Emma told The Tab: “I decided to go out on a date with him out of pure curiosity really – may as well give it a shot, I thought. If the date turned out to be bad then whatever, at least it would be an experience and a funny story to tell, but it definitely turned out to be very positive.
“Going into it I was nervous and scared, but the date showed me that he really is just a normal person. Once we’d met, had a couple of drinks and got talking I genuinely forgot that he was a celebrity, it was really nice to have such a candid and honest experience.”
The pair went for drinks at a bar and ended up seeing each other numerous times afterward until the pandemic hit, although they have stayed in contact and talk every now and again.
Emma added: “You do get good stories to tell, like telling your mates: ‘I matched with …!’, but after a while, the novelty wears off. I’m not really on it that much anymore, when compared to when I was first invited. I definitely felt starstruck regarding the exclusivity of it all; there’s no real other way to gain that kind of access, not for ‘normal’ people at least.
“I think Raya is a good way for famous people to meet normal people whilst doing a good job of keeping ‘stans’ out, because your profile has to be pre-approved, members understand to keep their chats on the down-low because you risk your account getting blocked if you take screenshots or pass on private details, and who would want to risk that? Obviously, it depends on who you’re chatting with and if you really end up meeting them in real life – my experience could’ve easily gone the other way, but I’m really lucky in the sense I met someone who’s very genuine and down to earth.”