(Photo: Getty Images)By Alice Hines The first profile I saw on the dating app Raya was Patrick, 21.He had sandy-brown hair, wide-set blue eyes, and a pet monkey.In the photo, the animal perched on his shoulder, wearing a onesie and stroking his hair. I pressed a play button and my i Phone filled with a Patrick montage set to music.
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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.
Related: New York Magazine’s ‘Sex Lives’ Podcast: How to Survive the Dating Apocalypse Raya 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.
The League, another private dating app, launched last year amid widespread media coverage and $2.1 million in seed money, and has attracted a crowd that’s elite by some standards but blandly corporate by others. Since it launched in March, it has stayed totally out of the press.