I heard it was how Amy Schumer met one of her boyfriends, and everyone I knew on it seemed to be matching with Pete Davidson. Raya is frequently described as a “celebrity dating app,” although during the short dating Wichita time I was on it, it would have been better described as a “celebrity dating app + Ginny.” Yes, I tried Raya, but decided to delete it after three dates. Ultimately, I learned that celebrity dating just isn’t for me (spoiler: I never met a celebrity).
Raya describes itself as a “private, membership-based social network.” It has an option for professional networking, in addition to dating. To get access to it, you have to be invited by a friend and then have your profile approved by the app via them scanning your social media. Despite its networking theme, everyone I know on the app uses and describes it as a dating app. Still, I would come to learn that the exclusivity, as well as the emphasis on professional networking, has the potential to make Raya a little less fun and flirty and a little more business casual.
Raya, a dating app designed to be deliberately exclusive, had long held a strong allure for me
I was so excited when Raya approved my profile. I’d heard so much about it from friends, and I desperately craved the invite. My friend invited me in , and I started swiping ASAP. In my first few months as a Raya app user, I didn’t actually use it to go on dates. I was about to move to LA, so I figured I’d date when I got there. I still thought it was worth the $8.99/month to swipe through and see if I could spot any celebs (I only saw the roommate’s boyfriend from Love and a guy I’d seen in taxicab videos – uhhhhhmazing).
Raya doesn’t let you screenshot (seriously, get over yourself, Raya), so I couldn’t keep my friends updated on my convos on the app. Other than that, it’s similar to other dating apps. You write a short bio, and then if two people like each other, you get to chat. Also, matches expire after 10 days, which felt like enough time. I use Bumble too, but those matches expire after 24 hours, which feels too fast. Overall, I found that by far the best part of Raya was tweeting about Raya, and I was able to do this anyway, dating or not.
If I had a dollar for every aspiring comedy writer I saw on Tinder, I’d have enough dollars for a turmeric oat milk latte, and that’s a lot of dollars
Once I got to LA, I decided to buckle down and find someone to go on a date with. Almost everyone I saw on the app worked in the entertainment industry, but TBH, this wasn’t that different from other dating apps in LA. But Raya was different – it was glossier. Instead of profile pictures, it had profile slideshows with a self-chosen background song. Almost everyone had at least one professionally-shot photo (myself included). And, even in casual Los Angeles, almost everyone seemed to have at least one photo in a suit.
I started talking to a TV writer who seemed cute and witty. We planned to get smoothies, and he gave me the name of a place in West Hollywood. He didn’t ask where I lived or what neighborhoods were most convenient for me – he simply chose a spot close to him. My expectations going in were perhaps too high – on most of my previous dates, I felt like the person was genuinely interested in getting to know me. Even if there was no chemistry or the conversation lacked spark, it seemed like they were interested in basic facts about my life. This was not the case on this date, nor on any of my Raya dates.