What you need to know
It seems as if everybody is on online dating apps these days, including your neighbour, all your family, and all of your ex-partners. Don’t you wish that dating online could be more of an exclusive club? If you consider yourself to be both creative and socially influential, Raya could be the dating app for you.
This highly exclusive, invite only app designed to bring beautiful, creative people together.
Though you will probably not be accepted onto the app, if you are, you will be rubbing shoulders (reportedly at least) with the likes of Kelly Osborne and Amy Schumer. Raya can also be used to begin collaborative projects with other app users. Hovering between being a tool to advance your career and a hookup app with an exclusive edge to it, Raya is a paid-for-app that is intriguing but (ultimately) somewhat snobbish. This Raya review explains how I came to this conclusion.
The Raya dating app was launched in March 2015, and it has hitherto only been available as an iOS app so it can be accessed via iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone. You will need iOS 9.0 or above to use the Raya dating app. The ‘Work’ feature, which was mentioned earlier in this Raya review and which enables creatives to collaborate on projects, was launched in 2017. The focus of the app is, as described from the outset in this Raya review, is exclusive dating for creative social butterflies.
As it is by definition an exclusive, invite only app, you would be right to expect that Raya deliberately maintains some subscribers that are lower than the numbers clocked up by apps such as OkCupid and Tinder. Apple has not released any figures about the number of downloads, but data from early 2016 suggested that the Raya dating app was averaging around 880 visits per day and that this number is ever increasing.
The app is theoretically available worldwide, and in numerous languages including English, French, Spanish and German. However, most of its users are in their 20s-30s and are concentrated in glamorous cities in the UK and the US such as LA and London. The Raya dating app is not free to use: users must choose between 1 month, three months and six-month membership. Membership renews automatically, and prices range between £5.99 and £28.99.
What it packs
The main excitement of Raya derives from the people that you can find on it: the rich and famous. Format wise, it is not too dissimilar to something like Tinder: instead of swiping left or right, though, users place a heart or an X on the profile that they are viewing. Aside from this, users can chat, view each other’s photos, and (as described above in this Raya review) use the ‘Work’ functionality to arrange to collaborate on creative projects.
To use Raya, you will need to be invited by the app’s team, and you will also have to be connected to a significant number of other Raya members on social media.
The precise workings of the Raya app’s algorithm remain a mystery, though it is said that before deciding whether or not to approve a given person to use the app, the Raya team will browse their Instagram profile to rate them on their attractiveness and their social connections.
There are no significant differences between men and women using the app, though one feature does stick out when you compare the app to Tinder or OKCupid. This is that it is highly frowned upon to take a screenshot of another user’s profile. If one user does attempt to take a screenshot while using the app, a banner will appear warning them that their account is at risk of suspension. It is said that this banner feature was introduced when one user attempted to publicise details of Kelly Osborne’s account on the app.
The last word
Starting to use Raya gives you a real buzz, as you instantly feel like you are part of a very exclusive club. In a way, you are, but though the app states that it is designed for ‘creatives’, you will only find a particular type of creative person on here: blockbuster actors, Hollywood stars, mainstream musicians, footballers and Instagram fashionistas all feature heavily. If you are looking to rub shoulders with someone like this, then Raya is a good app to use, but you will not necessarily find the next Emily Dickinson, Chet Baker or Nina Simone on this app.
It could be argued that the vast majority of authentic ‘creatives’ in this world would not pass the app’s ‘Instagram attractiveness’ test and so would never be invited to join Raya in the first place. Thus, you can read this Raya review in two ways: either, Raya is a fantastic app as it brings together rich and famous and (somewhat homogeneously) beautiful people to collaborate, create and hook up. Or, Raya is a snobbish app that, once the initial ego boost of being accepted as a member has worn off, is not worth the money.
Using Raya makes us consider what we deem to be important in this life: is it riches, social status and the number of Instagram followers that we have? Is it knowing, and mixing socially with, people who tick all of those three boxes? Or is it about truly creating art that may never be successful commercially but which is much more valuable than a flashy blockbuster? Is it about finding love rather than mixing in the most elite social circles? As you can see, writing this Raya review has prompted me to reflect on the very meaning of life (and online dating) itself!
Raya Review: Rating
It was quite hard to distil this Raya review into a short star rating. This is because I felt that this app is somewhat like Marmite: you either love it for the thrill and the sense of exclusivity that it gives you, or you hate it for its snobbish feel. I mean, there are so many wonderfully creative people on free, ‘conventional’ dating apps, that you can collaborate with authentically. So, I decided to give this app a star rating that was right in the middle between ‘excellent’ and ‘a narcissistic waste of time’:
I give Raya 3 stars.
This is a unique app, and though it is a little on the expensive side, it was intriguing to take a peek inside. Is this an app that you will be able to meet your one true love on? Maybe, but I felt that being able to say that you belong to the Raya community becomes more of a status symbol than anything else. Like a flashy car that doesn’t start, Raya is an app that can give you a real ego boost, but that will also drain your income and (probably) not take you anywhere interesting.
App Store 2.5/5