When I was single living in NYC in 2016, my favorite dating app was Raya.
Raya is still the most popular app amongst my single girlfriends, and the guys I coach ask me about it often, so let's check it out 👇😏
Raya is an exclusive dating app that launched in 2015. It's like the Soho House of online dating.
Functionally, Raya isn't super different from Tinder or Hinge, though it has some unique aspects we'll discuss next.
Raya works like most other dating apps. Once you're accepted, you need to:
Nominally, Raya's "slideshow" photo format is unique.
Rather than presenting your photos as stand-alone images, Raya has you curate photos to play sequentially to a song of your choice.
I've linked a recording of my profile later in this article to illustrate, but here's a teaser in the meantime:
In practice, Raya's slideshow = choosing photos for any other app.
You'll still upload the 6 best photos on your cameral roll to Raya to market yourself to prospective matches. You just also choose a song to play in the background.
Other small differences between your Raya profile, and your profile on other apps:
Looking beyond your profile, Raya has some other cool functionalities:
Ultimately, though, what makes Raya special is who uses it.
When I opened the app to write this review, the first potential match in my queue was a pro tennis player, and the next was a TV actor I recognized.
Basically, the people using Raya are different from the people using less exclusive apps!
If you're curious what a Raya profile looks like, here's a video I took of my old Raya profile:
Note that Raya doesn't allow you to screen record or screenshot in the app, hence me recording this with another phone!
Also, note that I'm happily married, so don't even ask 😜
Here's what a male profile in my review queue looks like:
Here's another Raya profile example:
Raya isn’t for everyone!
To obtain Raya membership, typically, a current Raya member must invite you to join the community.
Even with a referral (or multiple referrals), there’s no guarantee your application for membership will be approved. I know a number of people with 2+ referrals who are stuck on the waitlist...
Here's what my referral request queue looks like if you're curious:
Please don't ask me for a referral, btw. I only refer actual friends and certain clients!
If you’re wondering who gets approved for Raya membership, according to Raya’s website, the Raya community values "creativity," and the application criteria are:
You can always download the app, and apply directly without a referral.
Don't hold your breath, though 🥵
I'm not familiar with any Raya members being admitted without referrals, and I'm familiar with many people who have good referrals and are still stuck on the waitlist.
I've never heard of anyone getting officially rejected from Raya before.
Basically, be patient.
I don't have any special insight into the Raya application process — it's opaque, and anyone outside of the company who claims to know more is probably trying to rip you off— but I have friends who've been approved after sitting on the waitlist for multiple months , so don't give up hope!
Raya members tend to be influencer-types, actual and aspiring 😎
You know who I’m talking about... People who wear Amiri jeans, and talk a lot about where they vacationed last summer.
This isn’t to dunk on Raya or its members. I’ve connected with genuinely cool people on there!
It's just that the tie that binds in the Raya community seems to be less creativity, and more 3+ hours of daily screen time on Instagram 😜
I read a Raya review on Vida Select that claims Raya has a 5,000 minimum Instagram follower requirement.
Raya's application is straightforward.
First, share some basic personal info like your name, email, and DOB.
Next, share some info about your location and career:
Finally, you can add a referral from your phone's contacts:
That's literally it!
As of the time I'm writing this in 2023, Raya has two membership options.
🅰️ RAYA STANDARD MEMBERSHIP
Raya standard membership costs:
🅱️ RAYA+ MEMBERSHIP
Raya+ membership costs:
You get bonus features for ponying up the extra cash for a Raya+ membership, the most important of which are:
In my opinion, Raya is actually a killer financial deal 🤯
For context, Hinge now charges $34.99/month for their "Premium" membership, which is required to swipe on "standout" users (i.e. most of the attractive people using the app...)
That makes the basic Raya package look like a steal.
In my opinion, Raya is 100% worth it, assuming you can get in!
Stuck on the Raya waitlist, and feeling frustrated?
Don't sweat it. At the end of the day:
To that last point (and I don't mean this to sound harsh, but...) if you can't find your way onto Raya, you probably wouldn't be drowning in Raya matches anyway.
By and large, people using Raya are seeking to meet people who have the connections to get onto Raya 😬
Basically, you'll see higher ROI from improving your profiles on apps like Hinge and Bumble than from spinning circles trying to finagle a Raya invite!
Now that you know the ins and outs of Raya...
Want an A+ profile so you attract women you're excited about, no matter what apps you use?
I've got three ideas for you 👇
I share dating tips and silly content about my personal life on my Instagram every single day!
I'd love to share my best FREE dating guides with you:
Just tell me where to send them here!