Speaking to the People Who Got Rejected from the Elite Dating App Raya

"It was supposed to be a glimpse into a world that is not my own, but the curtains were drawn on me."
raya app rejects rejected
Illustration by James Burgess

Raya is Tinder for people who have their shit together. To get on, you need to be: attractive, successful, cool, wealthy, have thousands of Instagram followers, friends already on there to recommend you, and whatever secret X-factor it is the admissions people look for. It's for the cosmopolitan elite, the all-house Soho House members, those who just miss out on being on Forbes' "30 Under 30" list, but only because they're too attractive to be that intelligent.


All of which means: a lot of people don't get on. We spoke to some of those losers about how it feels to be rejected by the world's most exclusive dating app.

Joe, 26

VICE: Why did you want an account?
Joe: I didn't, really – I just heard loads of celebrities were on it so I wanted to see who would come up, which celebs were in the area looking for love. Do you know other people who have it?
Yes, a few of my colleagues have it – one idiot in particular who is a professional friend to D-list stars.

Do you think you're cool then? Did you think you'd definitely get in?
I thought it was about 50/50, to be honest – I'm not distinctly uncool, but I'm not exactly the belle of Studio 54 either. I would probably have been more surprised had I made it in. What were your emotions on hearing that it was a rejection?
I don’t think Raya actually tells you if you get rejected, they just keep you hanging, like an evil model. So eventually I just forgot about it. Are you salty about it? Out of ten.
Three out of 10 on saltiness. It was supposed to be a glimpse into a world that is not my own, but the curtains were drawn on me. Alas.

Alice, 26

VICE: So, I heard you unsuccessfully applied to Raya…
Alice: When I tell you I applied, I did it in the early days, like a good five years ago. It was barely a thing yet, and it was still free.

Fair enough. What made you want to apply?
My friends had used the beta and seemed to meet fun people. Plus, I was curious to see which celebs were on it, not gonna lie. Some celebs I heard were on it, I was like, "Ew."


Any celeb in particular that you were hoping to match with?
Not really, I was just curious. At the time I was using Tinder in LA, and I hooked up or matched with people who I knew of beforehand because of their jobs or affiliations. Which is kinda like D-list celeb Raya. How did it feel being rejected?
I never got a rejection email or anything, it just stayed pending indefinitely. How rude. So you didn’t feel a certain way?
I didn’t care much. I didn’t put much effort into my application… I should have asked for more recommendations, although I don’t think they’d installed the friend code yet. Would you try again?
I don’t really feel a way because, to be honest, even without Raya all I've been dating is CrEaTiVeS, and they're not the best of partners for the most part. Every sane person has left Tinder, and if I’m honest with myself I'm emotionally unavailable at this time like most people on apps. Once I’m ready I’m gonna meet people the good old fashion way – in the DMs.

Ava, 24

VICE: Why did you want an account?
Ava: I wanted an account because of course it's fun to see who's on there, but I also have my shit weirdly together for a 24-year-old – I own a house, have a masters degree – and it can be difficult to find people who are my socioeconomic "equal" on apps like Tinder. I've even been out with guys and then had them tell me they didn't want to date me because I'm more accomplished than them or make more money, which is really stupid. I feel like on Raya this wouldn't be as much of an issue. People on there know that the other people on there are successful at what they do and are generally just more cultured, since it's really a hub for artsy humans. I also think it could potentially be good for work contacts, as I know a few people who use it specifically for that purpose.


Do you know other people who have it?
I do know other people who have it. A few friends of mine and friends of friends in LA and Stockholm. Also, Amy Schumer met her boyfriend on there and I'm a little obsessed with them, so it's an inspiring story. Do you think you’re cool, and so expected to get in?
I do not think I'm cool. I didn't think I'd get in, but that doesn't mean I'm still not annoyed by the fact that I didn't. I'm probably not honestly at a place "career wise" that many of the other members are. I just thought I'd give it a go since I'd seen people on there through friends' accounts that I knew I really wanted to get to know / kiss on the face. What went through your mind when hearing that it was a rejection?
Mostly resignation. Then comparing myself to my friends that are on it and thinking to myself, 'Yeah, tbh they are definitely better looking and generally cooler than I am, so that makes sense.' I still want to get in! I'm on the "waitlist", which feels like my relationship with most men I want to date, so nothing new there.

Thom Rapley, 23

VICE: Hi Thom, what do you do?
Thom: I work "in media", but I can't be bothered to explain. What made you want to sign up to Raya?
Guess my 16-year-old self always wanted to feature in VICE at some point, so this can count as a tick on the bucket list. Maybe I can add this link to my Tinder? Also, I quite like reading your articles and going straight to the comments section to see the abusive messages. Who would be your dream celeb match if you were on there?
Christ, I don't know. Surely there is more to life than this! I wouldn’t go for an A-lister, too hard to get. I'd set my sights on some Instagram influencer who has an interesting hobby that I like and had like 13k followers or something. Failing that, Emma Watson or that woman from Hunger Games. All very basic. What's the coolest thing you've ever done?
Go to the Old Blue Last for a pint? Sign up for Raya? I don’t know. Do you feel like a loser now you didn't get in?
Hang on, I haven’t not got in – it just says I'm on a waiting list. I'm still holding out. However, after googling it, it says if you don’t get in within the first three days then your chances are basically nil. I guess I will forever be in limbo. I just bought a new phone with loads of storage and data, so if I wait for another month, maybe….

Nana, 23

VICE: Hey Nana, what made you want to sign up to Raya?
Nana: My best friend was sitting on my bed swiping through it. I took a look and decided, "Why not add another app to the many that have already disappointed me?'

Do you know anyone on there?
My best friend, a singer, is on there, along with some of my colleagues and friends of friends. So I know about ten people on there. Did you have a slight inkling that you'd maybe get on?
I just assumed I would because I work in the same place or the same industry as my friends who have it.


The A to Z of Softbois

Who would be your dream match if you did get in?
Honestly, I don't want to match with the people on Raya. I have no real desire to date someone in the industry. I just want to get on to say I got on. So do you think you're cool?
I don't think I'm cool. I just fit the criteria apparently, but also apparently not! How sad are you about it out of 10?
Zero out of ten. I'm not sad, not sad at all. I'm disappointed. In fact, I have a question for Raya: HOW DARE YOU? I don't even use dating apps anymore, I just wanted the ego boost, yet they couldn't even provide that.

Sam, 28

VICE: Why did you sign up to Raya?
Sam: I thought it'd be funny. I thought maybe there'd be more interesting or – to be honest – attractive people on a dating app that is literally designed for interesting, attractive people with a modicum of fame or influence. But mostly I wanted to see if there were any minor celebrities my way who I could take out for a drink. Who is your dream minor celebrity to take out for a drink?
I reckon it'd be a decent opportunity to meet someone off one of those shows I watched when I was younger. Like a Skins or a Misfits or something like that; the shows from an age before you knew what was and was not decent TV. Someone whose career has taken a slide and now they're just normal. They're not like, "Sorry I can't make it tonight, I'm in the second stage of auditions for Strictly" and they'd actually be up for meeting for a few beers in that nice pub near Victoria Park that does those pizzas. Are any of your friends on it?
Yeah, I have a few friends on it. I've heard no stories of them going on dates with celebs, but they're all like, "Oh, so and so off that show was on there… but they didn't message me back," and I wanted in on that, I guess. I'd heard a little about it before, but it was just some headline on the Daily Mail saying something like "This DATING APP is harder to get into than HARVARD which spells DOOM for our society" by a columnist with three surnames. I hadn't read it but I do like a challenge. Why did you think they would accept you?
I can't lie, I thought I'd get in. I have a decent following on social media – which is all that matters in this life – and a couple mates on there. And I'm decent looking and generally not a cunt. I feel like if someone was doing the due diligence on applicants they'd be like, "Yeah, he's alright." Confidence took a bit of a knock when they didn't accept me, to be honest, even though I only signed up as a joke. This is the moral of the story, really: never joke. Did you get a rejection notification?
I haven't. My application has been "pending" for like two months. I've moved on… mostly. How salty are you out of ten?
Like, social clout wise, ten. I should be on the app. I've seen the gawky cunts they've let on there, and I'm like "This fucking guy gets on?" But in real life, honestly, genuinely, despite everything I've said previously: six. I mostly forget about it until VICE journalists bring it up in my DMs.