Consider these your Raya safety schools.
Raya is the quintessential exclusive dating app, where many A-listers go to meet — or try to meet — their match. (Rumor has it, even Lizzo has a profile.) That said, it’s not exactly an easy app to join. The application process is involved, and you need to be invited by a current Raya member to even start it. Once you actually do submit an application, it goes through a committee of hundreds that assesses the applicant’s eligibility — but their criteria of looking for “something extra” in applications is vague.
Having a creative career, a large Instagram following, and a well-known name can definitely help, but there are no guarantees. Not to mention, only 8% of people who apply to join Raya actually make the cut. Those odds are... not great.
That said, if you are craving a more curated and, ahem, exclusive dating app experience, Raya is far from your only option. Depending on what you’re looking for, there’s an app for that. From apps that double-check your annual income to ones that tap into your LinkedIn network, there’s no shortage of ways to find your person.
Founded in 2020, Lox Club is literally marketed as “a private, membership-based dating app for Jews with ridiculously high standards,” per its website (though you don’t technically have to be Jewish to join). Like Raya, in order to get on Lox Club, you need to submit an application, which the app can take one to two weeks (or longer) to review and determine whether you’re “waitlisted” or “accepted.”
If you do get in, you have to choose one of three membership options: $36 for 3 months, $60 for 6 months, or $96 for 12 months. All in all, the process sounds a little bit like handing your ID to a bouncer and then waiting to see if you’ll make the cut and have to pay the cover.
The application, subscription model, and general exclusivity are not without purpose though. They are aimed at ensuring that “each member is joining for the right reasons.” (Umm, do they also give out roses at the end of each week?) That’s why, once you’ve been approved to join, you don’t enter a world of limitless matches; users are capped at a dozen swipes every eight hours.
Although this app has been nicknamed the “Jewish Raya,” Lox Club’s founder, Austin Kevitch, told Vogue that they had different criteria. “We don’t care about how many Instagram followers you have or your status or clout as much as we’re looking for down-to-earth, well-rounded, humble people,” he explained. “We’re not looking specifically for status or who you’d want to invite to a fancy dinner party; we’re looking for people who you’d bump into at a house party and end up talking with in a corner for hours.”
The Inner Circle is yet another dating app that requires you to submit an application first. According to their website, you have to link your account to either your Facebook or LinkedIn pages, which helps keep the app full of real (and non-catfish) profiles.
Each application is then carefully reviewed before being accepted. “We check every profile individually to help make sure every member is genuine and serious about getting together,” the website explains. Knowing someone who is already active on the app can also help speed up your application.
But, no matter who you know and who you know, the app has a pretty specific vetting process. “When somebody registers for The Inner Circle we look at whether they have a good picture. Are you the only person in it? Is it a selfie with 'duck face' in the mirror? We still have those unfortunately… that’s not the perfect fit,” the app’s founder, David Vermeulen, told Insider in 2018. Noted.
Lusso is technically not a dating app (although you can access it on mobile), but that’s only because it’s too expensive to be listed in the App Store. Seriously. Lusso membership costs approximately $1,000 per month. Not to mention, there are a limited number of VIP memberships available per country. Once that number fills up, potential members stay on the waitlist until a spot opens up. So yes, even if you want to drop a grand per month, you might not get the opportunity.
In the meantime, non-paying members can access the app, but they can’t really use it. Payment is required in order to communicate with potential matches and see profile pictures. IMO, a dating app without those two things isn’t really much of a dating app at all.
Members-only and application-based dating apps definitely have their appeal (just ask Raya’s waitlist of 100,000 people), but they aren’t for everyone — that’s kind of the point. That being said, if you want to dabble into more exclusive dating territory, Raya isn’t the only option.
Whether you want your dates curated based on income level or a lack of duck face selfies, there’s no shortage of options. Just remember, Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder will always be there for you if it doesn’t work out.
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