Ann Marie, wife of MK Dons boss Karl Robinson, shot to fame as Katrina Evans in Brookside, before starring in Doctors and Heartbeat.
But the 40-year-old mum-of-one, who was crowned Mrs British Empire at this year’s international beauty pageant, has now launched The Dress Empire in Buckingham.
“I love Buckingham,” she said. “Especially the individual retailers.
“It’s got a great feel to the town and always has a buzz.
“We were looking for a location and I thought: ‘What a nice place’.
“It has lovely little independent shops and it’s not like Milton Keynes where it’s oh there’s another Next, there’s another H&M – it’s chain after chain.”
Alongside suits from Karl’s first team coach, Keith Andrews - who is a partner of brand Chess London - Ann Marie will sell dresses for all occasions.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to run a shop.
“As a professional actress of TV, theatre and film, I know what sort of dresses are needed. Whether that’s for events such as red carpet, charity events, black tie or Christmas parties.
“I’ve also been involved in many pageants so I know what the judges are looking for.
“I will be sourcing dresses for all occasions including evening dresses, proms and pageants – something with that extra wow factor than what you may find on the high street.
“And I can source different styles, sizes and colours so if there’s something you don’t see in the shop, I can help in finding that special dress.”
Ann Marie is hosting a launch party at the Old Gaol tonight, with nibbles provided by Prego. Karl and daughter Jasmine, nine, will be there to mark the special occasion.
The shop, part of Suitors in Market Hill, will have a range of dresses from this weekend.