When Mei-Ling Lam arrived at LAX in February, she knew a “driver” would be at the airport to meet her and drive her to the Playboy mansion.

“I had a difficult time when he took my luggage and put it in the back of the car,’’ she said during a phone conversation this week. “That just was way beyond what my normal was, and so as he started to lift the suitcase into the trunk, I automatically said, ‘I can get my own luggage.’”

For Mei-Ling, the 27-year-old daughter of a hardworking family from mid-Maine, someone handling her luggage for her while she went empty-handed was a foreign and somewhat difficult concept.

He assured her it was OK. “Get in the back seat,” he said. “This is my job.”

Since then she has made a few trips out to “Hef’s place” in LA, and she has begun to understand that the staff of 600 or so is always “on” and willing to make sure that she is well-fed, entertained and happy.

So here, just for you, is the little, but legitimate, secret of the June 2011 Playboy Playmate.

“Spending hours and hours nude in different positions didn’t really bother me. Allowing someone to put my luggage in the trunk and do the work I should be doing was a bit difficult,” she said.

When she arrived for her test shots back in January, she and her roommate were escorted to the Pamela Anderson room in the guest house, adjacent to the mansion.

“It was all hot pink and Playboy photographs of Pamela Anderson on the wall,” she said.

In case you haven’t picked up this month’s edition, there is nothing comparable between Pamela Anderson and Mei-Ling.

Mei-Ling does have visions of modeling contracts and business deals and she knows that the month of June is hers to capitalize on.

I had to come to terms with seeing this girl, whom I still remember as a 5-year-old, talking to me as a grown-up and having decent ideals.

“A lot of people have told me it was tasteful. I’m glad, but somewhat surprised, because I would not have done this shoot if it was not,” she said.

Here is what sets Mei-Ling apart, what makes me find a place in my head for seeing her nude, in big pages, in Playboy.

“When you look at it, does it seem distasteful?” she asked. “Really, Nae, it’s not like I am naked with my legs spread.  I’m comfortable in my own skin and I’m comfortable that people see me here.”

She willingly shares a great moment of when she was modeling a bra during the shoot and there was not a bra small enough for her.

“Apparently there was no other Playmate with a smaller chest than mine. They had to take the bra I was wearing and clamp it up in the back. I will not forget that.”

But she was comfortable enough with that to retell it. That’s because she is comfortable in her own skin — this girl who grew up in Newport and Clinton not looking like anyone else — and comfortable enough to spend the night in the “Pamela Anderson” room and not looking anything like that, either.

“I found a way to accept that, but I still had a problem with someone else putting my luggage in the trunk,” she said.