As NYC singles scramble to refresh their profiles and get back out there, one matchmaker has become the go-to for dating app success. Thirty-seven-year-old Maria Avgitidis (a k a @realmatchmakermaria) is a fourth-generation, New York-based Greek-American relationship guru who has established herself as the queen of dating-profile critiques on TikTok, where she has more than 55,000 followers. To date, 4,000 singles have sent their profiles to Avgitidis’ company, Agape Match, for help, and she currently has a waiting list of around 200 people.
“They’re seeking ways to optimize their profile for the person they’re hoping to attract,” said Avgitidis of her clients, who pay as much as $200 for her profile guidance. “I also point out things that help repel people you’re just not interested in meeting.”
Shara Seigel, a 36-year-old Upper East Sider, recently turned to Avgitidis for help with her Hinge profile.
“I just feel like I’m meeting quantity over quality,” the public relations professional said of her dates. “I’m finding it challenging to meet people who are in the same place in life as me. As I’m getting older, I’m finding people who are divorced and have kids already and maybe aren’t looking to do that again.”
Here, Avgitidis offers her some advice:
Make your first photo your best shot: While women tend to look at several photos before choosing to swipe left or right, men often only glance at the first image before swiping left or right. “Then, when they get matches, they’ll look over the photos,” Avgitidis noted. So, it’s crucial to make your first image a very good one with broad appeal.
Lighten up: “Dark selfies are a turnoff,” Avgitidis said. She immediately suggested that Seigel change her first photo, a somewhat dim selfie at an outdoor restaurant, to something with better lighting.
Lose the booze: Avgitidis also nixed Seigel’s original photo because she was holding a glass of wine. Avoid leading with alcohol, as some might find it alienating. “It’s a personal decision, and I wouldn’t use it as an opener,” the matchmaker said.
Go for the bright stuff: Avgitidis suggested Seigel use a picture of herself in a vibrant floral dress to attract men online. Colorful backdrops are also a great way to make your profile more appealing. “If you see a bright mural or poster, stand in front of it,” Avgitidis said. “Ask someone to take a photo of you. This way it doesn’t look staged, and it looks like ‘Hey, you were walking with a friend in the West Village — cool!’ ”
Be straight about your photos: “If you have a hiking photo, include it — but only if you actually enjoy hiking,” she said. “And don’t include photos that were taken 15 pounds (or 15 years ago). If you’re lying about your looks, it’s easy for someone to wonder what else you’re lying about.”
Avoid clichés: Apps like Hinge feature prompts for users to sell themselves, but specificity is key. For example, in Seigel’s “Together we could . . .” prompt, she wrote “Try the best pizza,” but Avgitidis deemed that to be super boring. “If you check out women’s profiles, one in five say this exact same thing,” she said.
Use prompts to paint a picture: “For example, to describe how you spend your Sundays, weave in your interests and hobbies in bullet points,” Avgitidis said. “You don’t have to write full sentences. It could be ‘Long walk, yoga, brunch with friends, Wordle.’ ”
Use prompts to start a conversation: On her original profile, Seigel wrote, “This year I want to . . . see more live stand-up comedy and Broadway shows. Want to join me?” Avgitidis immediately swapped “want to join me?” for “let me know who your favorite stand-up comedian is.” The tweak gives potential matches a conversation starter and functions as a compatibility gauge. “Complementary sense of humor is vital in long-term intellectual compatibility,” Avgitidis said. “The kind of person who finds ‘Two and a Half Men’ hilarious might not be the same person who likes the nuanced humor of ‘Arrested Development.’ ”