As my friend Chloe Mackey, an NYC writer and model, put it: “No one will ever find love on Raya.
It was cute, in a weird-text-from-your-little-brother’s-friend kind of way.
I pressed a play button and my i Phone filled with a Patrick montage set to music.
The members I interviewed all loved the immersive, impressionistic quality.
(“The music is a great way to tell if someone is basic,” one artist told me over coffee.
Watching the procession of photos felt intimate, like Face Timing a friend, but also creepy, like hacking into someone’s phone. Patrick has a last name even your grandmother who’s never used an app would recognize — his dad’s a movie star.
But because we’d both been accepted to Raya, we could be chatting in just a few clicks, if we both tapped the heart on each other’s profiles.calls itself “an exclusive dating and networking platform for people in creative industries.” I’ve also heard it called “Illuminati Tinder.” Members are admitted by a secretive, anonymous committee, based in part on their Instagram presence.
The result is something like one of those unmarked nightclubs, except it’s in your phone, and peppered with vloggers and net artists in addition to models and Disney stars of yore.
Raya isn’t the first online dating service to try to harness celebrity and status to cultivate an image of exclusivity — its strategy, however, seems shrewder than most.
, supposedly to help prominent members looking for dates distinguish themselves from fake accounts.
The thing is, a blue checkmark isn’t exactly discreet.
“People are like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so fucking sad,’” Raya solves the privacy problem through careful curation, as well as its interface: Try to screenshot someone’s profile, and you’ll get an alert threatening to kick you off the network if the photo makes it online.