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Raya: This is what you need to know about the exclusive dating app celebrities use

Raya describes itself as ‘a private global community’

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Tuesday 04 May 2021 21:50 BST
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An ultra-exclusive dating app has found itself the subject of attention after a woman claimed that Ben Affleck sent her a video after she unmatched with him on the platform.

On Monday, Nivine Jay, who goes by the username @nivinejay on TikTok, uploaded a TikTok of what she claims is a video that Affleck sent her after she unmatched him on Raya.

“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,” Jay captioned the video, which sees a man who resembles Affleck asking her: “Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It’s me.”

While the authenticity of the video is not clear, the TikTok, which has been viewed more than 4.9m times, has prompted an interest in Raya, and what exactly it means to be a member of the exclusive platform.

What is Raya?

Unlike dating apps such as Bumble or Tinder, membership to Raya isn’t as simple as creating a profile - as it requires interested users to submit an application.

“Once submitted, applications are placed in queue and reviewed continually,” the app’s description in the app store reads. “An applicant’s status can change from ‘waitlisted’ to ‘accepted’ at any time.

However, an application also doesn’t guarantee acceptance, as according to the app, applicants are “assessed based on algorithmic values and input from hundreds of committee members spread throughout the world,” with the website noting that application decisions can range anywhere from “a day to a few months”.

As for what the app, which is reportedly used by celebrities, is looking for in an applicant, Raya says its multi-faceted application process ensures that every new member “makes our community more diverse and dynamic”.

The dating platform is also extremely strict about the behaviour allowed on the app, with the website stating that Raya will remove members who do not follow our simple rules of “respect, trust and privacy”.

“Furthermore, we reserve the right to suspend or remove any membership we no longer feel strengthens our community,” the website adds.

What is the application process like?

Raya’s application process begins with simple questions such as your name, your Instagram handle and the industry you work in.

The app then asks potential members to add a referral, with the app requesting: “Please select one or more Raya members who can privately support your application.”

According to Raya, this step is integral as “connection to our community is the most important factor considered by our review committee”.

Regarding the role committee members play in the decision, Raya says they are asked whether an individual would be invited to an intimate dinner party to create an evening full of “interesting, lively and respectful conversation,” and whether the other attendees would understand why “everyone else was chosen”.

“Beyond all of this, committee members look for that hard-to-describe ‘something extra,’” the website continues.

The dating platform also notes that it does not accept applications from anyone under 18, nor from individuals who display depictions of hate, racism, bullying, bigotry or disrespect or violence to another.

Raya also does not accept applicants with “consistent displays of excessive shows of wealth,” with the app explaining: “How much or little money someone has isn’t the currency in Raya.”

Overall, Raya accepts just eight per cent of applicants, according to Insider, with the app’s waitlist reportedly near the100,000 application mark.

Who is on Raya?

According to The Cut, professional athletes make up a portion of Raya’s users, as do “Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, Dancing With the Stars professional dancers, a YouTube beauty guru, the designer of a streetwear brand popularized by Kanye West, a teen celebrity chef, and Moby”. 

Drew Barrymore reportedly tried the app in the past, with the actress revealing during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that she saw a “lot of” fellow celebrities while trying Raya - but did not have the best experience overall.

“I did terribly too,” she said, adding: “I got stood up, and I didn’t match with anyone. And my friends gave me this sort of bloated sense of false confidence. They were like: ‘You should try it. You will do great.’ It was a car wreck.”

The app, which launched in 2015, has also reportedly counted celebrities including Channing Tatum, Amy Schumer and Trevor Noah among its members.

There are also non-famous people on the app, with the outlet noting that artists, models, record-label executives, and others in creative industries can gain access to the exclusive platform.

As for whether Affleck is actually on Raya, he previously told Diane Sawyer during an appearance on Good Morning America last year that he is not on any dating apps.

“I know people who are on them and they have a fun time, but not me. I would love to have a relationship that was deeply meaningful and one to which I could be deeply committed,” he said at the time.

The Independent has contacted Raya for comment.

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