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This Dating App Is Harder to Get into Than Harvard

Meet the "Soho House of dating apps."

There are plenty of celebrities who are on Tinder, but they're faced with a very unique obstacle (along with all of the regular ones we normals have). Zach Efron summarized it perfectly back in 2016 when he admitted that while he used the app, nobody ever swiped right on them because they thought it was a fake account. Since most A-listers like to date other famous people, you figure there must be a secret app that the most "elite" members of society can use.

And there is. It's called Raya.

If you've heard of it before, it's probably been through whispers via people who hang out in a particular crowd, since one of the reasons the app manages to attract so many celebs is because, in an age when all of our data seems to be given away at the drop of a hat, Raya has managed to maintain a hush-hush level of exclusivity. It's the nightclub only those who are "in the know" are aware of, and its emcee was recently outed as 34-year-old Daniel Gendelman in The New York Times.

According to the profile, Raya—the Hebrew word for "friend"—started out back in 2015, the idea being that it would be an app that felt "more like a dinner party," one that brought together a cohort of interesting, accomplished, and intelligent people who all had one thing in common: success. (That, and, more likely than not, good looks.)

In the piece, Gendelman tries to veer away from the idea that the app is a watering hole for society's cream-of-the-crop, an elevated version of The League, which began as an app for Ivy League graduates and has since expanded to anyone who is conventionally good-looking and gainfully employed. He tried hard to make it seem as though the people who make it through—who do so thanks to an algorithm and a secret committee of 500 members who vote on every applicant—are not fit and fabulous so much as "rad" (whatever that means).

But the reality is that it is, as one user described it, "the Soho House of dating apps," one populated by movie designers, photographers, influencers, professional athletes, CEOs, supermodels, and what appears to be the entire editorial staff of Conde Nast. It also speaks volumes that, according to the Times, everyone on the app has "eight-pack abs and ridiculous jaw lines."

As such, it's got more than 100,000 people on its waiting list. And with only 8 percent of applicants accepted, its admissions rate is even lower than that of Harvard Business School. One applicant even offered $10,000 in cash in exchange for an account in what media insiders call "Illuminati Tinder," but that's precisely the kind of snobbish behavior the app wants to cut out.

"There's a lot of applications where it's just a Lamborghini, a yacht and a private plane, and we're just like, 'See you later,'" Edelman said.

Which is probably a good thing, since scientific studies have recently found that women aren't interested in flashy men anymore anyway.

So far, the app seems to be working effectively, not just in terms of matching elite singles, but by avoiding the kind of terrible online behavior that leads to ghosting, orbiting, R-bombing, and other terms that describe terrible acts that are ubiquitous in the digital age.

And if you do manage to get in—as always with elite clubs, it helps to have friends who are already on it, along with a few thousand Instagram followers—it only costs $7.99 a month, with the extra option to boost your profile for another $2.99 monthly. But if you're one of the 92 percent of us doomed to a life of Tinder, you might want to check out the expert tips I Learned from a Pro Online Dating Coach.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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