Hilary Duff recently announced that she has been swiping through Tinder as a means of finding eligible men. And after inviting her first suitor to accompany her (and a bunch of her gal pals) on a bowling alley outing, the "Come Clean" singer has moved on to chatting with other singles. "I'm talking to probably about nine guys right now," she admitted during an interview with 104.3 Myfm’s Valentine in the Morning. She also revealed that her profile is pretty basic with her tagline simply boasting: "Let's get pizza."
But Duff isn’t the only celeb to make use of a dating service. Bravo TV host Andy Cohen is also active on Tinder, calling it a "modern-day singles bar." Ricki Lake has admitted to having used online dating services. Adele once trusted eHarmony to work its matchmaking magic, Charlie Sheen was spotted on MillionaireMatch.com while going through a divorce, and even Martha Stewart has looked for love on Match.com.
But while Hollywood stars hopping on the online dating bandwagon is becoming a trend, some professional matchmakers advise against it. Toni Bergquist, founder/owner of matchmaking service, The Agency, LLC says she would never advise a celebrity client to meet a stranger via a service like Tinder or Match.com. "I think celebrities have enough issues with privacy. Their dating lives are scrutinized enough as it is with our culture and obsession with celebrity," she explains. "Potential love interests should be screened thoroughly through a matchmaker or personal assistant or someone that celebs trust." Matchmaker Claire Wexler agrees, adding that online dating leaves the door open for celebs to encounter an array of fame seekers and gold diggers.
Patti Stanger, TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker, however, is all for celebrities making use of the online dating sphere, as long as they go in prepared. When the Bravo reality star's busy schedule didn't allow time for her to have organic run-ins with potential mates, even she turned to online dating. (Patti doesn't date her clients.) Stanger dabbled with profiles on Match and JDate before connecting with her boyfriend, David Krause, on Plenty of Fish.
"Online dating kind of humbles you. You forget what it's like to be human again. You become a civilian and you have to take off your tiara so to speak," she tells Yahoo Celebrity. And for stars worried that their profiles will attract the wrong kind of candidates, Stanger says they shouldn't be concerned. Unless you publicly announce you're using the service, like Duff did, your profile will likely blend in with the rest. "My boyfriend didn't know who I was until the third date when his daughter told him," she explains. "So it was cool. I didn't deny who I was. If somebody recognized me, I said, 'Yes, it's me.' And then I could tell whether they wanted to meet me for me or they wanted to meet me to further their status."
In order to maximize the online dating experience, Stanger suggests that celebrities follow a few key guidelines:
Feel out the motives: Stanger says she really got a handle on what a guy's motive was by feeling out what type of date that he wanted to take her on. "If a guy kept asking me to take him on the carpet or to this event or a premiere, then I’d know,” she says. “My boyfriend never asked to do anything. In fact, I had to beg him to come on the show." For this reason, the famed matchmaker advises stars to be open to singles who suggest outings such as going to the movies, meeting up for dinner, or lounging on the beach. But if a date keeps pushing to tag along to a VIP experience or asks for you to foot the bill, then you know they are pursuing you for the wrong reasons.
Qualify your buyers: "You're at a level of financial success that nobody is going to obtain. There are very few millionaires on dating sites. And so the truth is: Can you live within a certain means? So I put a number on it. I said, 'You gotta make $250k to ride my ride,'" shares Stanger. "If you can't afford to take me to Palm Springs for the weekend or take me out to dinner or to the movies, we're going to have a serious problem."
Find your niche: When it comes to choosing the right online dating service, Stanger says for celebs to consider what they are specifically looking for in a mate. JDate, for instance, is ideal for those who are seeking out a Jewish partner. "Niche dating is very key because I can refine my search. I can date a farmer, I can date a Jewish guy, I can date a vegan, a dog lover. I can be specific."
Choose you profile photos wisely: Stanger says that while a profile pic should be professional so as to garner attention, it's important to also include snapshots that help famous daters appear down to earth. "Also do some low quality Instagram ones where you're just on the beach in T-shirts and jeans, or where you've got a bathing suit on i(f you've got that kind of body), or you're wearing a cute cocktail dress." She also stresses the importance of having only yourself in the photos. Have a photo of you alone, nobody with you, no five cats, no 20 girlfriends, no six rounds of beer in your hand,” she explains. And lastly, your pose should not be too Zoolander-ish. A simple smile will do. "Your smile is your calling card." According to Stanger, a profile should include four photos max. "Don't let them keep asking you for photos," she warns.
Be specific as to what you want: To make online dating a success, Stanger says celebs need to be honest about what they are looking for. "If you want to get married say, 'I'm looking to get married. I'm looking to spend the rest of my life with my one and only and we grow old together and we're sitting on the beach and watching the sunset,'" she explains. And when it comes to finding love, don't be afraid to be sincere. "If men are afraid of the 'M' word, they are not your guy. There is going to be a guy that says to you, 'You know what? I want the same things as you,'" she adds. "Don't just say, 'I just want somebody who makes me laugh and to have a good time with,'" says Stanger. "Be specific and say, 'I want to have children. I love California and I want to stay in California. I'm looking for someone who loves to ski because I love to ski.'"
Get help with vetting potential dates: One thing that Stanger notes is that a celebrity on an online dating service can tend to command a lot of initial attention, which could make the task of scouring through profiles to determine who to date overwhelming. To remedy this situation, she recommends that stars call in reinforcements. "A lot of people have their assistants go through them, or have a family member. Maybe your sister or brother help out," says Stanger.
Don't be nasty: When it came to vocalizing what she wanted in a mate, even Stanger had to keep herself in check. "I only like guys that are 6-foot-2 and over. So I would be kind of nasty in the old days and would be like, 'If you're 6 ft. and under, don't even contact me because that usually means you are 5-foot-10." However, after joining Plenty of Fish, Stanger changed her height requirements to come across as more playful: "I'd be like, '6-foot-3 guys, that's my sweet spot.' I made it funnier and sweeter and only guys who were 6-foot-2 or 6-foot-3 would contact me," she explains.
Relax: "Most people are in heat before they get on the Internet and are in desperation mode," notes Stanger. "You have to take the desperation out of it. If you're relaxed about the process and you're just doing this for fun and have no expectations, that's the secret sauce." To combat online dating overzealousness, Stanger recommends visiting her Attracting A Soulmate website and listening to a selection of subliminal recordings to help get the mind into a ready-to-date state.
Try out a regular Joe: Stars are constantly introduced to people who work within their industry — other stars, publicists, and studio execs. But many, according to Stanger, hop on dating services in the hopes of finding someone that is not in the limelight. "Hilary Duff didn't really have a college life. She was fairly young when she got famous and she never experienced life like that," says Stanger who thinks that Duff may benefit from trying out somebody who isn't in showbiz.
Don't overdo it: According to Stanger, the key to a successful online dating experience is to really screen people before you meet for a one-on0one date. "Pick and choose wisely. In order to get to the first date you gotta get to the phone. If you don't talk to him, you don't go out with him. Texting is for teenagers and calling is for men," she states. Stanger also recommends limiting the amount of dates that celebs go on per week so that they don't burn themselves out. "Don't do five nights in a row. It's good to have one on the weekend and maybe one during the week. Maybe two times a week and go slowly," she explains.
As online dating continues to be a popular way to meet people, it's likely that we’ll see an influx of celebrity profiles popping up. "It's the only way to meet people in this disposable text message society," says Stanger. "We live in a very quick, 'we don’t have time' world.'" And celebs that work 15 hours on set and fill their days in between with interviews, personal trainers, and photo shoots, are no different than the rest of us. But as more stars hop online to find love, the novelty of famous people having profiles should wear off. "Every now and then, you're going to recognize somebody — a sports star, a businessman in the news. It's not unusual. It's become the norm now," Stanger explains. And while famous daters may initially find their share of lunatic suitors harassing them online, Patti promises that if they follow the proper online dating etiquette it shouldn't be an issue. "The lookie loos will eventually go away," she says.