What Is Raya? This Celebrity Dating App Has Been Used by Countless Stars

For single celebrities, finding love isn’t as easy as going to the nearest bar. This is why the Hollywood elite has taken to the “Tinder for celebrities,” Raya. Read on to find out exactly how the app works and if you, too, can fall in love with an A-lister.

What is Raya and how do you sign up?

Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum attends MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Aerosmith at West Hall at Los Angeles Convention Center on January 24, 2020 | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Raya launched in Feb. 2015 via Jesse Johnson, Daniel Genfelman, and a few others. You might recognize that name as his father is actor, Don Johnson and his step-sister is Fifty Shades of Grey actress, Dakota Johnson. The app is member-only for “dating, networking, and making new friends,” according to its website.

Johnson acts, too, with credit slike Nash Bridges and NCIS to his name. However, it’s Raya that’s been his biggest claim to fame. The dating app is exclusive with a laundry list of requirements to get approval to join.

During a 2016 press tour, Dakota said, “I have no idea how it works and I refuse to be a part of it!”

Gendelman told The New York Times that good looks aren’t necessarily what get your foot in the door. They also don’t love Influencers who flaunt their wealth and consider it a “red flag.”

Raya’s desire is to “curate digital dinner parties” filled with “interesting people.” In not so many words, you don’t have to be rich and famous to take part.

The process to join is decided by an algorithm and anonymous committee of 500 people who look at applications, referrals, and the creativity of each. They seem to love experts in their field, per their website.

The committee searches “for that hard to describe ‘something extra,’ — NASA scientists, cancer researchers, poets, painters,” the website says. While some might think that doesn’t sound too harsh, only 8 percent of applicants get approval, with 100,000 others on a waiting list of 10,000 members.

These celebrities have used Raya

Celebrities like Kelly Osbourne and Joe Jonas were outed for using the app in its early days, which brought the app much notoriety.

Channing Tatum famously used Raya after he and Jenna Dewan broke up. His profile read, “And yes, I used to be a stripper. Sorry,” according to Us Weekly. Now, he’s with singer, Jessie J, and likely deleted his membership.

Others, such as Chilling Adventures of Sabrina actress, Kiernan Shipka, used it.

“Of course. Raya for life. Love it. God bless Raya,” she previously said.

Niall Horan, Demi Lovato, and John Mayer admitted to using the app to find love (or something like it). Recently, Ben Affleck referenced Raya as a way to start dating again.

What is the protocol for connecting with a celebrity on the app?

View this post on Instagram

Kenny McCormick

A post shared by John Mayer (@johnmayer) on

Raya doesn’t have your run-of-the-mill application process, according to some who’ve applied. An in-depth evaluation of your Instagram page — which must include a few thousand followers — and an assessment of how many existing Raya users follow your page are required. It’s known as “the Instagram test” and many fail.

Not everyone on Raya is a celebrity. They’ve accepted innovators, researchers, scientists and anyone with a fascinating career.

The app itself doesn’t work through swiping left or right. You move slideshows set to the profile users’ song of choice. And, if in doubt you’re actually connecting with a celebrity, they link to their verified Instagram page to avoid being catfished.

You won’t only connect locally, either. Raya taps into global users. For just $7.99 per month, it’s worth a shot (if you can pass the screening process).

Their rules are stringent and clear: no screenshotting of any conversation or profile, ever, or risk getting banned. Once in, don’t mess up your only shot to find love with Hollywood royalty.