When the fifth most powerful woman in the world according to Forbes
takes to the stage, journalists make sure their pens are poised. And in a time of economic austerity -- not to mention scandal allegations regarding the IMF's former managing director
-- the media spotlight on Lagarde is fierce.
But away from the camera lens, what personal events shaped the 59-year-old financial leader we know today?
Here are five things you might not know about Lagarde.
"Clearly the death of my father when I was 16 was a pivotal moment because you suddenly realize the hardship, the pain," Lagarde told CNN's Gabriella Frias.
"It certainly provided me with a better understanding of how tough it can be for a single mother to raise kids."
2.) She was a member of the French national synchronized swim team
Lagarde won a bronze medal in the French National Championship when she was just 15-years-old.
Synchronized swimming might also have more in common with politics than you think. "It was synchronized swimming that taught me: 'Grit your teeth and smile,'" Lagarde told the Guardian.
3.) She once walked out of an important job interview
"It was when I applied to the biggest law firm in Paris and I was told that I would be a great recruit and that I would be given good work to do -- but that I should never expect to make partnership because I was a woman," Lagarde told CNN.
"I thought to myself: 'You don't deserve me, I'm going.' And I had that sense of extraordinary freedom, walking down the staircase and thinking to myself: 'What would I do in this firm? Why would I work with that kind of attitude?"
4.) She twice failed to enter France's National School of Administration, the elite school for civil servants
"For a while I felt sort of held back and I decided: 'No, no, no, no, no, no you have to get over it,'" Lagarde told CNN.
"You need to try to take the learnings from that failure and ask yourself: 'Why did I fail?' Then you learn about it and you move on."
5.) She was born on New Year's Day
It's perhaps fitting that the IMF boss -- who oversees the world's finances -- was born on such a neat date.
The eldest sister to three brothers, Lagarde was raised in Normandy to an English professor father and Latin teacher mother.