Raya is the worst kept secret to finding love. The celebrity dating app, which some people refer to as “Illuminati Tinder,” has no social media presence. Members who take screen shots or share information risk getting kicked off. Everybody knows about it, but few know how the sausage gets made—or which celebrity sausages might be single and ready to mingle.
Founded in 2015, Raya connects high-profile individuals in creative fields (think, people in the entertainment industry and social media influencers) for the purposes of networking and finding love. But you can’t just sign up and start swiping; you have to apply in the hope of getting approved. “Prospective members may download the app and submit an application,” according to Raya’s description in the App Store. “Once submitted, applications are placed in queue and reviewed continually. An applicant’s status can change from ‘waitlisted’ to ‘accepted’ at any time.”
If you’re lucky enough to gain access to the app, you create a carousel of photos set to a song of your choosing, which potential matches can either “heart” or pass on.
But how, exactly, do you get accepted by Raya?
Have a lot of followers.
If your social media isn’t up to par, then you might not be Raya material. If you look at the app, you’ll see that Raya’s application only asks for four things: your name, occupation, a reference from a current user, and your Instagram handle. It’s all well and good to be a talented model, painter, or writer, but if you don’t have the fan base to back it up, you’re apparently not cool enough to be dating Raya celebs like Lizzo or Ben Affleck.
Not sure how to boost your IG follower count? This advice from the Washington Post might help. Some takeaways: Go to “edit profile” and switch your account to “professional”; you’ll get analytics on all your posts, which will help you learn which content gets the most engagement. Then, find your niche, instead of trying to reach everyone. Post consistently with hashtags related to said niche, and hopefully you’ll start to grow your follower base.
Much like getting into the bougiest club in town, it helps to know someone. References are an optional part of the application, but having a contact who’s already part of Raya is a huge boost—especially after the introduction of the friend fast pass, which allows each user to have one friend’s application streamlined. And assuming you don’t casually know Joe Jonas, who was a member before he married Sophie Turner, you’ll need to find another reference. According to their website, part of Raya’s algorithm sees if their members follow you on Instagram. So, you might not need to know someone, but someone needs to know you.
Have some je ne sais quoi.
Acceptance onto the app can be an insurmountable hurdle, even for known celebrities. Actor Robert Hoffman, who you may remember from 2000s movies like She’s the Man and Step Up 2, lamented his rejection from Raya on Twitter earlier this year. Comedian Corbin C. Wells faced a similar rejection. If having a million Instagram followers isn’t enough to get you on the app, don’t feel bad. You need to have a little extra edge, and if you can figure out what that is, please let the rest of us know.
Prepare to wait.
The road to Raya can take a few days…or over a year. Though Raya’s website states that “every day people are removed from [the waitlist],” there are stories of people getting stuck in waitlist limbo for all of eternity, wondering when they’ll get accepted.
If I do get accepted…which celebrities will I potentially see on Raya?
Listen, we can’t make any promises about who will and won’t be there, but here’s a list of celebrities who’ve either been spotted on Raya or spoken about their experiences on the app.
If anyone out there still harbors their childhood crush on Ginny Weasley, you might be in luck. The 30 year old actress was spotted on Raya back in 2016, according to Nylon.
Lizzo reportedly joined Raya to try and match with John Mayer. The “Truth Hurts” singer is still single, although those trying to match with her now have to compete with her crush on Chris Evans.
Speaking of John Mayer, his profile is a slide show of photos set to a Neil Young song,” an unnamed Raya user told Us Weekly in 2016.
Drew Barrymore confessed to being on Raya last fall during an interview with Andy Cohen. She apparently got stood up, adding to her less than amazing experience on the app. Who would have the audacity to do such a thing?
The Magic Mike hottie was spotted on Raya in 2019 after his break up with Jessie J. His profile says “Yes, I use to be a stripper,” according to Us Weekly.
Sharon Stone harbors the same frustration we all feel about dating apps. She was kicked off Bumble for being flagged as an impersonator, and then had a less-than-satisfying experience on Raya. “People kept pretending they were things they weren’t on Raya,” she told Town & Country. “Like straight.”
Pitch Perfect star Rebel Wilson has used Raya on and off for the passed few years. She confessed to only using it for a few weeks every year when she is in between relationships.
The twelve-time Olympic medalist told Cosmopolitan that he had been on Raya. However, he left after realizing that most of his matches lived in New York or Los Angeles, which he did not. After leaving the app, he married Playboy Playmate Kayla Rae Reid.
The star of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina admitted to being on Raya back in 2018, and said she loved her experience on the app. “Oh, I love my Raya,” she told the New York Times. “I’ve gone on dates from it, but nothing that’s come to fruition. We’ll see.”
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