News & Opinion | June 27, 2018 12:18 pm

Inside the Exclusive, Invite-Only Social Network for Models and Movie Stars

The Raya app only accepts 8% of applicants and has a waiting list of more than 100,000.

(Getty Images)
Getty Images/EyeEm

Raya, an invitation-only social network populated by movie stars, fashion designers, pro athletes, tech executives, and many Instagram models, has more than 100,000 people on the waiting list. It is the “Soho House” of dating apps, because everyone who is on it is someone. The app costs $7.99 a month, but joining is not easy. Members are evaluated by an algorithm and human gatekeepers, who consider the applicant’s Instagram following, how many Raya members he or she knows, and other attributes. Only about eight percent of applicants are accepted. Once in, the rules are pretty simple: Keep things private, and don’t be a creep. For example, you cannot take screenshots of anything on the app. Raya is the first app that has successfully created an atmosphere of intimacy and trust while revealing very little, almost nothing, about itself, writes The New York Times. 

Daniel Gendelman, 34, is the founder of Raya. He hopes the app will evolve and become a meeting place for influential people to come up with all kinds of commercial, artistic, and humanitarian projects. He is frustrated when people call it a hookup app for jet-setters. He said that the app is “for passionate people anywhere in the world who have something they want to share with other members, and can do it in a respectful way.”